Newsgroup Discussions: Granny after CJ

Granny after CJ

alt.books.pratchett

This discussion of Granny Weatherwax's personality, magical ability and possible future role in Discworld novels contains major spoilers for all the Witch novels up to, and including, Carpe Jugulum and for the short story The Sea and Little Fishes. It originated in the thread "Jingo: Is Pterry going downhill?".


Subject: Re: [R]Granny after CJ was Jingo : Is PTerry going downhill?
Date: 26 Nov 1998
From: Richard Bos

However, having read CJ, I'd have to question whether Granny is getting tired. Opinions, anyone?

Well... not tired as such. I do think, though, that she's, maybe, getting tired of her current role in Lancre society and might want something else. A long vacation, maybe, or a change of "job". She'll always be a witch, of course, but maybe she can be another kind of witch. One in which she is less supposed to do everything and be everywhere. Of course, she'll always butt in when she thinks it necessary.

So who takes over her role? I don't see Nanny doing it. She's far too much the Mother, and I think CJ showed that, ultimately, she can't handle the job. She can do a good impression of being in control, but she isn't. She still relies on Granny. In fact, Nanny Ogg is perfect for her current role, and should stick with it.

Neither do I expect Magrat to take over. She is, and always will be, a wet hen. Even as a queen and a mother, she still is. True, motherhood brings out the strong side in her - but so did her love for Verence in L&L, and she is also a very indecisive, cutesy mother at times. Especially around toys :-). She will continue to be the Maiden at heart, showing the ("ferret-like") strength belonging to that role when she has to.

That leaves us with Agnes. And frankly, I think she's perfect for the job. She hasn't been a witch for so very long, and she's already shown remarkable strength - enough for Nanny to notice. She has a strong character in a way the other two haven't. She's been through the rough phases necessary to make that kind of character, in A-M, but also when she felt insecure about that. She didn't, after all, get Perdita from nowhere. And that, I think, is also a point in her favour: with a double nature like that, she could be nasty if she wanted to.

All in all, I think Granny will take a less important role, fade into the background a bit (after all, she's already good at that), showing up only when required, and her main role will be taken over, in time, by Agnes, as she gains experience. Lancre's future would certainly be very interesting...


Date: 28 Nov 1998
From: Jonathan Ellis

Agnes would be absolutely perfect for the job - for one most important reason: she's been Weatherwaxed! (The vampires were Weatherwaxed, and Agnes was bitten by Vlad - and, while the vampires may well try to fight it, Agnes is on the same side as Granny...)

I think Granny Weatherwax has at last found her successor, and the traditional power of the Weatherwax women will eventually pass on to her (although in a rather unusual way, and without the name of Weatherwax to go with it.)


From: Joerg Ruedenauer

I agree. I think it's quite clear that Agnes will be the successor of Granny. I'm not so sure, though, about the Weatherwax women's power transfer. I have the feeling that such a power, that seems to come mostly from talent, can not so easy be transferred. Also, as I understood it (but I've read it only once until now) the "Weatherwaxing" came because Granny's self was in her blood. Surely she will not leave it there longer than necessary, don't you think?.

I also think that we have not seen the last of Granny. It's quite an obvious hint at the end with the " I still aten't dead". I would like Granny and Agnes working together better anyway. IMHO, Agnes did a bit too few in CJ.


Date: 09 02 1999
From: Dale Friesen

I didn't get the impression that Granny's self was ever in Agnes' blood. My understanding was that Granny was in the vampires, though I'm not sure when she went there. (Why was she wet from the rain, for example? Had she started the transfer process already?) I think that it was clear from Perdita's opinion of Agnes at the end that something changed in the latter after the vampire bite, and being bitten by a Weatherwaxed vampire seems to have been the agent of that change.

At least, that's how I read it.


Date: 10 02 1999
From: Mary Sophia Novak

Oh, GOODY...

My favourite topic...

To me, the end of Maskerade made it quite plausible that Agnes would ultimately be Granny's successor. From the first they've have a very different chemistry than Magrat and Granny. I recall being debated on this point back then because the natural line of witchcraft is the cottage, but it's now much clearer that

a) Magrat has nothing to do with Agnes' training whereas Goodie Whemper taught Magrat all she knew--everything Agnes knows she's gotten from Nanny or Granny or found on her own.

b) Nanny Ogg thinks Agnes is the new Research Witch but there is no indication that Agnes cracks a book...instead she's getting "quite good at" understanding people, e.g. Headology.

I rather hope we don't ever see the Passing of the Broom and the real Death of Granny Weatherwax (after at least two dry runs)...if we do it'll be the last Witch book ever. Nanny and Granny are just plain irreplaceable. Nanny's in no hurry to train anyone, either, and I don't see how anyone could ever take over HER cottage.

The only thing that makes me less sure of the Agnes-Granny connection is the sudden introduction of little Esmerelda Note Spelling...but maybe she's a Red Herring with icy blue eyes.

I have the feeling that such a power, that seems to come mostly from talent, can not so easy be transferred.

What's special about Granny is, interestingly, the same thing that's exceptional about Rincewind--it seems possible that neither was born with any magical talent; they both came to magic by force of will. (This is less clear and maybe obliterated now that we have the [I think rather contrived] direct descendence of Granny Weatherwax from Black Aliss.)

I prefer to cling to the scene in Maskerade where Granny said "No one ever chose me. I chose." I think that resonates beautifully with Rincewind being the least-talented wizard on the Disc who at the same time is the most important and powerful wizard.

I didn't get the impression that Granny's self was ever in Agnes' blood.

Ohhh, yes it was. That's why she woke up with the horrible, powerful, terrible craving for...tea.

And, remember, Agnes heard her voice in her head during the scene where everyone is playing hunt-for-Granny's-soul after she's first Vampirized. If that wasn't Granny herself passing through, that moment may partly be there to show Agnes and Granny's strong connection.

But if you mean you didn't have the impression that Granny was hiding in Agnes any more than she was Borrowing the baby, you're right, I think. I'm still a little puzzled by that whole business.

I think that it was clear from Perdita's opinion of Agnes at the end that something changed in the latter after the vampire bite, and being bitten by a Weatherwaxed vampire seems to have been the agent of that change.

And yet, I don't think that the bite necessarily caused Agnes to go Granny all over the place at that point. Nanny started going Granny just because Granny absented herself from the picture.

Whereas Magrat heretofore has been perpetually in need of spiritual tonics (getting hexed to wear the Cinderella dress with pride, drawing strength from Yinci's "armor") and is FINALLY making some real progress as a character, Agnes's tough side (especially in the form of Perdita) has always been more a part of herself, and closer to the surface.


Date: 10 02 1999
From: Jonathan Ellis

now that we have the [I think rather contrived] direct descendence of Granny Weatherwax from Black Aliss.

I don't think this is in fact the case. Black Aliss seems to be known as Aliss Demurrage (and is under that name in the DW Companion), whereas Granny's grandmother was a Weatherwax - although she is named Alison, I don't think there's much of a connection between Alison and Aliss apart from having similar first names.

On the other hand, there is the known connection (stated in L&L when Granny first confronts Diamanda and the new coven) that Granny's first teacher Nanny Gripes learned from Goody Heggety, who learned from Nanna Plumb, who learned from Black Aliss - in other words, there is a connection between Granny and Aliss, but through four generations of pupil-teacher relationships rather than two generations of family.


From: Dale Friesen

I rather hope we don't ever see the Passing of the Broom and the real Death of Granny Weatherwax

So if Granny has a replacement at all, would you have her just leave Lancre? Or just have it a coven of four witches? Apart from the maiden/mother/other one division, we have the research/headology/whatever nanny is division of witches. Do we know that there are only three of these types, or might there be more? Was Lilith a headology witch? Hilta Goatfounder seemed to be an alchemist of sorts, but perhaps that's simply a form of research witch. Do we know if the maiden/mother/other one coven divisions have to include one each of the research/headology/nanny witches, or could you theoretically have an entire coven of eg research witches?

The only thing that makes me less sure of the Agnes-Granny connection is the sudden introduction of little Esmerelda Note Spelling...but maybe she's a Red Herring with icy blue eyes.

Esmerelda Margaret Note Spelling, I think you'll find. :) I agree about her being a Red Herring, at least insofar as being the place where Granny was hiding her true self during her struggle with the vampires.

I prefer to cling to the scene in Maskerade where Granny said "No one ever chose me. I chose." I think that resonates beautifully with Rincewind being the least-talented wizard on the Disc who at the same time is the most important and powerful wizard.

Don't forget that Rincewind was chosen by the Octavo, so the parallel isn't perfect. There's also the fact that the only other Rincewind we know is an archchancellor, so it's possible that there's magic in the Rincewind bloodline. Speaking of which, in addition to Granny and Black Aliss and Lily there was also Galder Weatherwax, 304th Archchancellor of Unseen University. I remain respectfully unconvinced that Granny Weatherwax wasn't born with any magical talent.

I didn't get the impression that Granny's self was ever in Agnes' blood.

Ohhh, yes it was.

Oops, I obviously wasn't clear about what I meant. I was replying to Joerg who I had understood to hold the opinion that Granny had been hiding in Agnes during the former's struggle with the vampires.

And yet, I don't think that the bite necessarily caused Agnes to go Granny all over the place at that point.

Well, not "all over the place," agreed, but I understood that there was quite possibly a long-term change as a result. What I'm wondering is if Granny will be affected at all in the long term by being bitten by a vampire, even though she won the big battle of not becoming one herself. She and the vampires all seemed pretty convinced that there wasn't any way she could outright beat them, though that might simply have been necessitated by Narrative Causality requiring a Hopeless Battle.

Whereas Magrat heretofore has been perpetually in need of spiritual tonics [...] Agnes's tough side (especially in the form of Perdita) has always been more a part of herself, and closer to the surface.

Magrat's finally growing out of the stage where I feel perpetually embarrassed on her behalf. I look forward to seeing more of her development. (Incidentally, I find it interesting that we never seem to see much of her husband, who was initially a very sympathetic character.) Agnes has grown to be one of my favourite characters on the Discworld.

On the subject of Lancre witches, were we supposed to think (based, perhaps, on her battle of wills with Granny) that Lucy Tockley (aka Diamanda) had real magical ability? I don't think we've heard any more about her since L&L, have we?


From: Psiogen

She had it, but she got it from the elf queen. I doubt it's still there. I got the impression that because she didn't have the will to get power the hard way, she doesn't have that witch mentality.


Date: 12 02 1999
From: Mary Sophia Novak

So if Granny has a replacement at all, would you have her just leave Lancre? Or just have it a coven of four witches?

No...I'm working from the hypothesis that Agnes is the witch who will take over from Granny when she dies.

Based on all of the Discworld books we have now, it would be out of character for Terry to write the actual moment when Granny croaks and is out of the series for good and Agnes takes over.

It's another thing if he chooses to write something quite unlike what he's written so far. Character development in the DW generally takes place in drips and drabs, not in single great changes like Granny's death would be. And a Witches book without Granny would be a Witches book with a great big Esme-shaped hole where Granny used to be, which is why I think that it's unlikely we'd see another installment in that leg of the series if she were gone for good.

Do we know that there are only three of these types, or might there be more?

Does it matter? Witching seems more personalized than that. Magrat studied under Goodie Whemper who was a placid research witch, but Magrat has now coped with lots of things Goodie never dreamed of. Agnes is unique in the Lancre coven for having such a singular talent as her voice...theoretically anyone can Borrow even though Granny makes it a specialty.

Esmerelda Margaret Note Spelling, I think you'll find. I agree about her being a Red Herring, at least insofar as being the place where Granny was hiding her true self during her struggle with the vampires.

Yes, I do remember the full name. I was sidling up to what makes her so Herring-y: she's named after Granny, and you have to admit, "Note Spelling" is a GREAT name if you're going to be an exceptional little witch. (I look forward to further developments...we've never really seen anyone start up from babydom in the books so this is one where I'm quite sure whatever Terry may have in mind will be considerably neater than whatever we might extrapolate now.)

it's possible that there's magic in the Rincewind bloodline.

There isn't one.
Rincewind has no clue who either of his parents were, unless something got resolved in TLC which I haven't read.

Well, not "all over the place", agreed, but I understood that there was quite possibly a long-term change as a result.

I think, the actual scene in question to the contrary, that the long-term change was waiting to happen even before Agnes got bit. If Agnes, in future books, understands Granny better it isn't due to the long-term effects of the bite.

What I'm wondering is if Granny will be affected at all in the long term by being bitten by a vampire, even though she won the big battle of not becoming one herself.

Probably not. She can't get any colder than she already is. She already contains within herself the aspects that make vampires bad, she just dominates it until she channels it for good out of sheer force of will.

I look forward to seeing more of [Magrat's] development.

One great thing about Magrat--she's grown the most convincingly, and the most gradually, of any of the characters in the series. We met most of the characters when they were full-fledged adults--there was only so much room for them to find themselves. Whereas Magrat is much more secure as a person now (L&L being her great turning point--tossing away her magical objects and then learning not even to be dependent on Yinci's armor) even when some of what she's secure with is her essential Magrat-ness. (I was utterly blown away by the end of CJ, when Magrat resumes her "maid" duties and gives Agnes precedence. It's the best indicator yet of Agnes being groomed to take over for Granny.)

Incidentally, I find it interesting that we never seem to see much of her husband, who was initially a very sympathetic character.

Verence has been developing all along, too, but on the periphery of the Witches' world. (Just like we never see all that much from Sybil Vimes.)

What's more, I think if we saw straight into Verence's head we wouldn't like everything we found. The transition from Fool to King isn't all peachy-keen. Sort of like what seems to be happening to Carrot.

On the subject of Lancre witches, were we supposed to think (based, perhaps, on her battle of wills with Granny) that Lucy Tockley (aka Diamanda) had real magical ability?

She didn't. Granny and Nanny sized up all the girls and found "a bit of natural ability" in Agnes. "Did you feel the power there?" re Diamanda had to do with power she got from The Lady. (And we won't be seeing her again. She'd just be a lesser version of qualities Susan owns.)

Since I'm the one who thinks Granny wasn't necessarily born with magical ability, I don't think that Lucy had to have more than teenage angst and strength of will for The Lady to reach out to her.


Date: 11 02 1999
From: francesco.nicoletti

Granny seems to me to be getting more unstable, more prone do doing something dramatic. If her self control slips she could be quite dangerous. Nanny's self imposed task seems to be to keep granny distracted enough that she does not go over the edge.

I rather hope we don't ever see the Passing of the Broom and the real Death of Granny Weatherwax (after at least two dry runs)... if we do it'll be the last Witch book ever.

If she goes she will go with a bang.

Or just have it a coven of four witches?

Somewhere in CJ a witch define a coven as about three witches sometimes four, so 3 is not mandatory.

Do we know if the maiden/mother/other one coven divisions have to include one each of the research/headology/nanny witches

How about four witches jostling for three positions? Continuing the line taken in CJ. Magrat & Nanny both in the Mother mode making sly dirty joke was one of my favourite scenes.

I didn't get the impression that Granny's self was ever in Agnes' blood.

Ohhh, yes it was.

But how? Agnes did not bite Granny. Vlad (who did bite Granny) bit Agnes - he did not give Agnes his blood.

Incidentally, I find it interesting that we never seem to see much of her husband, who was initially a very sympathetic character.

In CJ he seems to be continuing his role as the Lancre Jester. Rescued by little blue men and doing his best braveheart impression on a huge dram of whatever it was.


From: Susan M

On the subject of Lancre witches, were we supposed to think (based, perhaps, on her battle of wills with Granny) that Lucy Tockley (aka Diamanda) had real magical ability? I don't think we've heard any more about her since L&L, have we?

IIRC, GW told Diamanda to go away to Ankh Morpork, or something, where she could make something of her life. It's possible after the events of LL she decided to take that advice. When NO is thinking about the girls in Lancre of the right age to be the Maiden, she doesn't even mention her. I got the impression that Diamanda's power, and hence magical ability came from the Queen of the Elves. After GW and NO found them using Caroc cards, Nanny says that Agnes is the only one with any real talent.


From: Orin Thomas

Though is that witching talent or magical talent?

The elf queen's choice of Diamanda in the first place perhaps indicates that Diamanda does have some strong magical ability. The only other person that the witch queen attempted to corrupt was a young Granny Weatherwax.

[which brings up a side question, what was Granny Weatherwax's title before she was awarded "Granny" ... just first name like Magrat? ... do witches really come into their own in terms of being "bona fide" witches once they reach middle age?]

I hypothesize that the witch queen would select the most magically powerful of the "young coven". Given the personality difficulties that Agnes/Perdita exhibits in Maskerade and Carpe Jugulum I think it also reasonable to hypothesize that Agnes, at this stage, would have been pliable enough to be "seduced" - hence the witch queen would have given her extra powers if she had more to work with than Diamanda. It doesn't seem supportable to hypothesize that the witch queen didn't choose Agnes because Agnes was too strong.

Which then brings into question Nanny Ogg's assessment of Agnes as the one with the talent. I think it strange that Nanny Ogg made this assessment and not Granny. Perhaps because, out of the four witches as main characters in ER, WS, WA, L&L, M!M and CJ, Nanny seems the least ... well ... magical.

Perhaps the talent which Nanny ascribes to Agnes is a recognition of Agnes being better suited to a Lancre role. That is the "roll the sleeves up and do some real work" attitude. Diamanda never really came across as practical in that sense ... I couldn't see her helping with the delivery of children or dispensing advice or even really wanting to live in Lancre.

I wonder what happens to women in Lancre who have little inclination for being practical and hard working (and living in Lancre sounds like hard work) but have magical ability. Do they go off and become enchantresses?

There is also the interesting question as to whether or not Lancre has any "country" wizards. Ridcully for example - before he was ArchChancellor he lived on an estate in the country. Or have the wizards been driven out by the practicality of the witches? Can you have a practical wizard?


Date: 12 02 1999
From: Psiogen

The elf queen's choice of Diamanda in the first place perhaps indicates that Diamanda does have some strong magical ability. The only other person that the witch queen attempted to corrupt was a young Granny Weatherwax.

I don't think either of them had magical ability when the elf queen chose them. That's the point; if they'd had power, they wouldn't have needed to go to the elf queen. Granny had the will to get her power the hard way, but Diamanda got hers from the elf queen.

Magrat, Nanny, and Agnes had innate power, and they were chosen. Granny and Diamanda chose.

It doesn't seem supportable to hypothesize that the witch queen didn't choose Agnes because Agnes was too strong.

Remember Agnes' mock MPD. It seems like Perdita (the 'romantic') was able to be 'seduced' by the elf queens, but Agnes would not have been. Diamanda, on the other hand, was doubly weak; she had no magical power, and no will power to actually go out and get it. That's why the elf queen went after her.

Can you have a practical wizard?

I'm sure ER made that clear ;-)


From: Gwyneth Ellis

Granny had the will to get her power the hard way, but Diamanda got hers from the elf queen.

Hmm. I think Esme definitely had power. I don't think you can 'learn' magic. Think of UU. Rich families don't send sons there to learn magic, sons who display magical ability are sent there to learn how to use it. I think it must be the same for witching. If Esme didn't get her power from the Elf Queen (like Diamanda) then where did she get it from? She certainly learned her skills, but I bet she had to have the power to begin with. You couldn't teach a non-magical person to borrow, etc.


Date: 13 02 1999
From: Psiogen

I don't think it's that simple. Unlike wizards, witches aren't 7ath daughters of 7ath daughters. They may generally be people who have been 'touched' by the natural magic of the Ramtops. These are probably the witches who are chosen, like Nanny and Agnes. Granny and Diamanda had no natural power, otherwise they would not have been susceptible to the elf queen's charms. Granny obviously worked hard to get her power. Maybe you can't teach a non-magical person how to borrow, but if they have enough will, you can teach them to be a magical person.


Date: 14 02 1999
From: Robin Halligan

I don't think that is quite the case, to use magic you must have the talent whether inborn or thrust upon you, granny had the talent and so did her sister, granny said she was not chosen but perhaps the local witches looked at what happened to granny's sister and thought she didn't have the will power not to go bad, however when she turned down the elf queen and then camped on the witches door till she instructed her that showed she had the will power and stamina to do the job.

Diamanda didn't have the talent and the Elf queen offered her a shortcut to the power and she took it. she offered the same to granny but granny could see the cost (the elf queen would control you) and was not willing to pay that way, her way she only owe's herself and the witch who trained her (and that don't count).


Date: 15 02 1999
From: Jamie Crowther

Granny and Diamanda had no natural power, otherwise they would not have been susceptible to the elf queen's charms.

I take issue with this. I think that Granny definitely had power to begin with - the Weatherwax clan is supposed to be magically gifted, is it not? I think that the Elf Queen recognised this, and tried to use it - Granny was gifted, but at the time she had not learned how to use her gift; just like she was 'very clever, but not yet clever enough to realise the cleverest thing she could do was to not let others realise it' (paraphrased (badly, I know)).

I think that the Elf Queen had found, though, that even with Granny's youth and inexperience she was too strong-willed and realistic (without airy-fairy romantic visions a la Magrat) to fall for the ruse. Diamanda may have had some natural power, or desired it greatly, I'm not sure, but had exactly the sort of soppy mindset that was anathema to Granny - thus much easier to convince and use. I think Magrat would have been convinced too, if she had ever been subjected to the Elf Queen's charms (after her shock realisation in L&L).

Granny obviously worked hard to get her power. Maybe you can't teach a non-magical person how to borrow, but if they have enough will, you can teach them to be a magical person.

Like I said before, I think the Weatherwax clan is a naturally magic one (Lilith doesn't strike me as the sort to work herself to death to achieve her magical potential - OTOH she got a great deal of power from mirrors and from shaping stories), and Granny, I think from the beginning, realised her potential, and went out to shape it by taking as much from other witches as possible.

When she says she 'chose', IMHO it is more a statement of her willpower rather than her potential for magic. Witches might not have wanted to choose her knowing her headstrong nature, but she didn't give them any choice in the matter.


From: Psiogen

I take issue with this. I think that Granny definitely had power to begin with - the Weatherwax clan is supposed to be magically gifted, is it not?

If Granny had her own innate power, the Elf Queen wouldn't have gone after her. She, like the other Weatherwaxes, had the strength of will to get power. That is why they are a magical family.

Lilith doesn't strike me as the sort to work herself to death to achieve her magical potential - OTOH she got a great deal of power from mirrors and from shaping stories

Precisely. Lilith gets her power from mirrors. It's not innate.

I think Magrat would have been convinced too, if she had ever been subjected to the Elf Queen's charms [after her shock realisation in L&L].

She was, and it did work- until it exposed the core. ;-) Magrat was born with innate magical ability, which is why Goodie Whemper chose her. The Elf Queen wouldn't have had anything to try to bribe her with. When Nanny and Granny went to visit the young coven, they saw that all Diamanda's power came from the Elf Queen; only Agnes had natural power.

When she says she 'chose', IMHO it is more a statement of her willpower rather than her potential for magic

Proving my point yet again.

The whole point is that Granny and Diamanda were the same, except Granny had willpower.


From: Stuart Painting

If Granny had her own innate power, the Elf Queen wouldn't have gone after her.

On what do you base this assertion?

I consider it far more likely that the Elf Queen would have tried to entice every human that happened to wander into the area. After all, they're merely humans - what power could they possibly have compared to that of an Elf - and a Queen at that?


From: Martin O'Nions

If Granny had her own innate power, the Elf Queen wouldn't have gone after her. She, like the other Weatherwaxes, had the strength of will to get power. That is why they are a magical family.

Hmmm. What exactly is 'power', exactly? The Elf Queen says to Esme that she has "good sight", in being able to perceive her. She may of course be lying, but it should be noted that Esme knows what she is looking for when she goes to the Dancers - there's none of the bull associated with Diamanda's search for power. Additionally, it is stated quite clearly that the reason that the existing witches are unwilling to train Esme because they feel she lacks discipline. Given that Lancre witches are not generally associated with tact, it seems strange that none of them have apparently said "Bugger off, you're not cut out for magic".

It may well be that Granny has had to work harder than some to gain her current mastery, but it is repeatedly emphasised throughout the novels that she is the most powerful and highly respected witch in the Ramtops. Control is power. On the "if it quacks like a duck..." basis, the ability to achieve one's ends through magic in ways that others can't is possibly the best indication of power one can find. Nanny Ogg may have, as she claims, more natural ability, but she freely admits to being unable to match Granny magically now.

Granny is not only exceptional in matters of headology which isn't inherently magical, but also in areas such as borrowing and despite her distrust of wizardly magics, she is not above blowing the wheels off a cart at some distance, directing a thunderbolt, or translating her pain into physical force (the witch skill of borrowing is only applicable to organic matter - Granny transfers her pain into heat in iron, a metal typically impervious to magic).

In this world, despite Charles Atlas' promises, no-one turns themselves from a seven-stone weakling into Arnold Schwarzeneger. If you don't have the basic frame to hang the musculature off, all the steroids in the world will only get you so far (typically to the local mortuary slab). All the evidence to date has been that DW magic is similar - training will improve any practitioner, but you can't get really good without already being the right sort of person. If it was just down to belief, then there'd be Rincewinds holding the Archchancellorships of two universities.

Lilith gets her power from mirrors. It's not innate.

It's amazing really. All that power available to anyone whether they had magical talent or not, and yet so little mirror magic apparently performed...

Of course, one could quote from WA -

'With mirrors, all the power is your own. There's nowhere else it can come from'
'All anyone gets in a mirror is themselves...'

The mirrors are said to amplify or multiply, but in the words of Ian Anderson - 0 to the power of 10 = nothing at all. There has to be power there to start with.

When she says she 'chose', IMHO it is more a statement of her willpower rather than her potential for magic

Proving my point yet again.

With respect, it does nothing of the sort. As noted above, L&L gives a clear statement of why Esme was originally refused training. The fact that she managed to wear down the resistance of an established witch in the face of considerable reluctance does not prove a lack of magical talent, any more than it disproves it. The two are not related.


Date: 17 02 1999
From: Mary Sophia Novak

Additionally, it is stated quite clearly that the reason that the existing witches are unwilling to train Esme because they feel she lacks discipline.

They're already training her at that point. Not arguing about whether they should do something, but bitching about something they're already doing.

In contrast to Nanny Ogg, Granny "never stood in front of no-one" and as I read the implication this means that whereas, well, Nanny Ogg was chosen it was up to Esme to choose.

Given that Lancre witches are not generally associated with tact, it seems strange that none of them have apparently said "Bugger off, you're not cut out for magic."

...but nor is she so self-evidently cut out for it that anyone seeks her out as they did Gytha Ogg.

It may well be that Granny has had to work harder than some to gain her current mastery, but it is repeatedly emphasised throughout the novels that she is the most powerful and highly respected witch in the Ramtops.

...due to her mercurial rise in her golden years. She's not all that exceptional in ER and not extraordinary at the beginning of WS. Presumably was even less exceptional before that. Which gives her half a century of labouring in the witch trenches (with influence mainly in Bad Ass of the double-digit population, not yet extending into Lancre much less the Ramtops much less the Disc) before hitting her prime.

On the "if it quacks like a duck..." basis, the ability to achieve one's ends through magic in ways that others can't is possibly the best indication of power one can find.

By this standard Rincewind is by far the most powerful mage on the Disc. He has no competition in terms of using magic (well, magic using him) in ways that others can't.

Which brings us back to my central point for clinging to this--for me, anyway, it does make Granny more special to figure that her total extraordinary power is built much more from her own effort than from being gifted at birth with an oversized ability. And I find it satisfying that this makes a parallel between those two particular characters.

In this world, despite Charles Atlas' promises, no-one turns themselves from a seven-stone weakling into Arnold Schwarzeneger.

Actually, I'd say that's a fairly apt analogy for how I think of Granny's development. I'm not insistent (particularly not in the face of strong evidence) that Granny was born with no inherent magical power. But I'd say that, as the fishy-story states, nearly all of the "basic frame for the musculature" in Granny's case is made of willpower and very little of the frame is made of magic power.

L&L gives a clear statement of why Esme was originally refused training.

Cite? I've checked all the places I recall (including the one you mentioned) and no, it doesn't.

But as a present, I'll point out that Nanny in L&L (contrary to Nanny in the fishy story) uses the word "talented" to describe her memory of young Esme. (p. 171 in my UK paperback.)

This does not crumble the foundation of my world, because "talented" is as loaded as every other word anyone's brought up yet--could refer to strong power, could refer to strong but human control.

The fact that she managed to wear down the resistance of an established witch in the face of considerable reluctance does not prove a lack of magical talent, any more than it disproves it. The two are not related.

They're related if that's what Terry had in mind, or if that's in the foundation of an idea Terry is building towards now.

They're not related, if he didn't and it isn't.


From: Sorcha

In contrast to Nanny Ogg, Granny "never stood in front of no-one" and as I read the implication this means that whereas, well, Nanny Ogg was chosen it was up to Esme to choose.

At some stage of one of the witches books (can't remember which one at the moment) Granny said (to Magrat? or Esk?) that she went and camped out on the doorstep of a local elderly witch, until she would take her in for training. As opposed to the normal way of the older witch lining up all the girls from the local village and choosing one, that is.


From: Dale Friesen

It's on pp. 132-33 of the Corgi paperback, and from the context it sounds like NO and GW were just reminiscing about old times:

Granny Weatherwax watched the disappearing girls.

Nanny Ogg paused. Then she said: 'Takes you back, eh? I remember when I was fifteen, standing in front of old Biddy Spective, and she said in that voice of hers, "You want to be a what?" and I was that frightened I near widd--'

'I never stood in front of no-one,' said Granny Weatherwax distantly. I camped on old Nanny Gripes' garden until she promised to tell me everything she knew. Hah. That took her a week and I had the afternoons free.'

'You mean you weren't Chosen?'

'Me? No. I chose,' said Granny. The face she turned to Nanny Ogg was one she wouldn't forget in a hurry, although she might try. 'I chose, Gytha Ogg. And I want that you should know this right now. Whatever happens. I ain't never regretted anything. Never regretted one single thing. Right?'

'If you say so, Esme.'

The larger context here is that Granny has recently foreseen her own death as imminent[1], and she's been having flashes of her life in a parallel universe where she's happily married to Mustrum Ridcully[2]. IMHO she knows that she made the right decision to choose to stay single and be a witch, but occasionally has flashes of regret that she didn't enjoy married life[3]. I think it's this choice she's talking about, since NO and GW obviously both had to convince a witch to train them (at least, that's my understanding of NO's conversation with Biddy Spective).

[1] She turned out to be wrong, or least to have completely misunderstood what it was she had foreseen.

[2] Wouldn't you just love to know what they would have been like as a couple?

[3] I know she says the opposite, but I think she's lying and NO knows it, hence the final comment.


Date: 18 02 1999
From: Sorcha

IMHO she knows that she made the right decision to choose to stay single and be a witch, but occasionally has flashes of regret that she didn't enjoy married life

Although Nanny Ogg seems to have had no difficulty combining motherhood with the witching (although fifteen children and three husbands seems to be slightly overdoing it in the opposite direction). Granny, on the other hand seems to see it as an either/or situation. This would fit in with the view of magic of the wizards, who think that magic and sex are incompatible.

None of Nanny's daughters became witches, and most or all seemed to get married (with Granny accusing her of encouraging them to 'throw themselves at men' instead). And Magrat gives up her position as the third witch to Agnes after her marriage to Verence (although I haven't read more than the jacket of CJ yet, so I may be wrong about that one).

So, is being celibate an integral part of a witchery? Or just of the training? That could be a large part of the choice of whether to become a witch or not. Although the witches don't have a vow of celibacy in the same manner as priests, if celibacy was a requirement during training, the mindset could be so ingrained that it could be hard to shake once gotten into. Or possibly not.


Date: 06 03 1999
From: Anthony W. Youngman

Well, with the (possible) exception of Magrat[1], all the witches in all the books[2] IIRC ARE single. Maybe they weren't, ie Nanny Ogg, but we never get to see a husband.

[1] - It's generally accepted AFAICT that when she starts Queening, she stops Witching. She gets involved - certainly in CJ - but the story looks for her because she WAS a witch, rather than her looking for the story because she IS a witch. And the implication is clear that she'll go back some time in the future.

[2] - There's the Witch married to the Wizard in that new story, but even there I get the impression they are both near enough retired W's.


Date: 18 02 1999
From: Gwyneth Ellis

...due to her mercurial rise in her golden years. She's not all that exceptional in ER and not extraordinary at the beginning of WS.

Not all that exceptional? In the book where she beat the Archchancellor of UU in a magical duel? Well, that may be your opinion, but I disagree;-).


From: Psiogen

In any case, I don't really consider ER to be all that connected with the later witch novels. Put it down to alternate pasts, but Granny hadn't really developed as a character in that book.


Date: 19 02 1999
From: Mary Sophia Novak

Though I spake unclearly, I mainly meant that Granny Weatherwax did not appear to have been an extraordinary witch in the time before the events of ER.

I don't have ER immediately at hand, and it's low on my re-reads--I may have only read it twice, if you can imagine.

So when I get the book in hand again I may admit I was wrong without reservation. To string along, though,

Pointe the Firste: The Arch-Chancellor of UU? Would this be the one that got corked in some creative way in Sourcery? How many Archchancellors did we go through in the first half-dozen books? Until Ridcully, it was a dud position filled by dud characters. No doubt they had Tons Of Power, but narrative causality demanded that they be beaten by pretty much any challenger they faced--even that one, who if I recall correctly was the closest to a proto-Ridcully.

(Side Note: Now, as with Death and most of the central characters, Narrative Causality demands that Terry find creative ways that Ridcully not suffer any crushing defeats. I would think that's one of the unique challenges of series writing.)

Pointe the Seconde: (from M!M, about why traveling conjurers are always The Great Astoundo and never Fred Wossname) "And everyone takes notice, and are always careful not to ask themselves: if he's come from the King of Klatch, why's he doing card tricks here in Slice, population seven."

If Granny Weatherwax was such a super-powerful witch in her youth and middle age, what was she doing getting old in Bad Ass, population ~15?

(Suggestions that she was "biding her time so she could help Esk" will be met by me with my fingers in my ears, singing loudly. I don't buy that for a second.)

Sigh...I'm not making pronouncements about exactly when she first had the potential to exhibit extraordinary power. But I think we've seen pretty much every instance, in her whole life, of doing so. Along with Nanny Ogg we have watched Granny earn the all-time title of Biggest Badass In The Ramtops (BBITR); she didn't have that title when she started out. Just like the Life of Carrot is not very interesting the entire time he bides in the dwarf mine before going to A-M. In both cases the potential presumably already existed, but it needed the right time and the right setting to unfold.

Put a more mettyforical way: Granny couldn't truly unfold all the potential of being "Granny" until she had earned all three of her Witch Role stripes: always a maiden, skipped on to crone, and then by L&L she was unquestionably One Bad Mother.

In any case, I don't really consider ER to be all that connected with the later witch novels.

Same here, which is why I re-read it so seldom.

Put it down to alternate pasts, but Granny hadn't really developed as a character in that book.

And the Nanny Ogg character is some other witch entirely, which is why, as with Ridcully, the characters were pretty fully-formed from their first appearance: they'd had rough drafts under other names.

(Side note: for those who may key into this general line of thought, who do you think are the more "organically grown" characters versus the ones that were fully realized from their first appearance onwards?

My votes for Organic:
Vetinari
Granny
Detritus
Death and to a lesser degree the UU wizards who survived Sourcery
Rincewind
Ponder

For Athena-like (springing fully formed from their creator's forehead)
Carrot and to a lesser degree the other main guards, including Angua
Nanny Ogg and to a lesser degree the younger witches
Ridcully
Susan

In some cases it's a hairline distinction. I tend to think that the Athena-eskew characters were more entertaining straight out of the gate than the beginnings of the organic characters, but that they tend to stagnate faster--it's as if once a character is really firmly in an author's mind it gets to be a pervasive limitation. Even though she's one of my favourites, I think the last time that Nanny Ogg did anything that really surprised me was somewhere in L&L.

[Can you tell I'm getting bored just arguing about Granny? This opens up whole new oceans of controversy.])

The inconsistencies we've turfed out in this remarkably long discussion just don't bother me that much. I don't think that Terry had in mind for Granny's character from ER on that she began with relatively little power and relatively superhuman determination. But I do think it's been in the back of his mind for a while, and has surfaced pretty securely by the fishy story. (Sorry, I just can't make myself memorize that acronym. Only skimmed the story once.)

Likewise, I don't think he had the good/bad paradox that has become so central to her character firmly in mind before WA. I think it's always peeked through--Granny is his chance to write big moments in the life of a fairly Black Aliss-y character, the bad witch in all the fairy tales (I shrieked over the Sleeping Beauty parallels that drive so much of the plot in CJ--inside-out fairy tales are my favourite kind) only as a hero. Just like the Guards started out as his chance to write big moments for the Expendable Extras of any action story. But I think that what has happened to her since then and what she has become has evolved pretty much on the fly--I don't think it was until L&L that he really had a clear game plan for what Granny was all about.


From: Gwyneth Ellis

I mainly meant that Granny Weatherwax did not appear to have been an extraordinary witch in the time before the events of ER.

Not convincing. What turned her from a run-of-the-mill Witch to an extraordinary Witch then? The journey from Lancre to A-M? Esk? It seems to me that Granny is pretty extraordinary in ER and there is no reason for us to assume that she wasn't pretty extraordinary before then.

Pointe the Firste: The Arch-Chancellor of UU? Would this be the one that got corked in some creative way in Sourcery?

Are you trying to imply that being beaten by a Sorcerer puts you in the lightweight category of magic practitioner? The Arch-Chancellor is the top Wizz. Supposedly the most powerful wizard on the disk. And Granny beat him. And you still argue that Granny wasn't extraordinary in ER?

btw, in WS she is described as the most respected of the leaders the Ramtop Witches didn't have. So she's pretty much top of the heap then, isn't she?

<snip character development discussion>

I agree that Granny's character has developed. She certainly is a most organic character. But I see that as us just getting to know us better. There's no reason to assume that she wasn't a powerful witch prior to ER.

If Granny Weatherwax was such a super-powerful witch in her youth and middle age, what was she doing getting old in Bad Ass, population ~15?

Ah well, that's an easy one ;-). It's because she isn't a Wizard. And she isn't a Conjurer. She's a Witch. With a mind of her own.


From: Jamie Crowther

The Arch-Chancellor is the top Wizz. Supposedly the most powerful wizard on the disk. And Granny beat him. And you still argue that Granny wasn't extraordinary in ER?

Anyway, the Weatherwax who was Archancellor didn't appear in S, but TLF, where he pegs it. But not exactly in any unimpressive way. Did it have something to do with the Luggage, IIRC? Anyway, it was made clear that he was an impressive sort of chap, who, until his unfortunate demise kept a step ahead of the ambitious Trymon. And even if you are trying to belittle the Weatherwax natural power, may I remind you of the part in CJ where the Count Magpyr says that it is the women of the clan who get the most power.

btw, in WS she is described as the most respected of the leaders the Ramtop Witches didn't have. So she's pretty much top of the heap then, isn't she?

I agree with that totally. I feel that she has been apparently an extraordinarily powerful character through all of her career that we've seen.

If Granny Weatherwax was such a super-powerful witch in her youth and middle age, what was she doing getting old in Bad Ass, population ~15?

Ah well, that's an easy one. It's because she isn't a Wizard. And she isn't a Conjurer. She's a Witch. With a mind of her own.

And besides, that's what witches do - stay with a particular community and help it in all the matters that need witchy attention. The only sort of witches we've seen going abroad as a matter of course are fairy godmothers, and Esme Weatherwax never would anything to do with that romantic nonsense voluntarily. Its been fairly explicitly stated that most witches 'can't abide' forn parts, especially Granny.

She's a witch, and she lives up to her responsibilities as one in her community - where would they be left if she went gallivanting off all the time? And bear in mind that the events involving travelling chronicled in the books are rather extraordinary events in themselves, requiring Granny's personal attention.


Date: 20 02 1999
From: Psiogen

btw, in WS she is described as the most respected of the leaders the Ramtop Witches didn't have. So she's pretty much top of the heap then, isn't she?

She's the top of the heap in the sense that she has seniority in the coven, but she definitely gains in respect later in the books. For example, in WS she's up against Black Aliss' accomplishments to a certain degree, and NO remarks afterwards that she's done something even BA didn't. In WS, she was just a powerful witch. Later, she essentially became the most powerful witch ever. She has always been at least slightly outstanding, but she's probably gotten more powerful and certainly more respected.[1]

[1] Well, maybe more feared than respected.


Date: 19 02 1999
From: Stuart Painting

Not convincing. What turned her from a run-of-the-mill Witch to an extraordinary Witch then? The journey from Lancre to A-M? Esk?

How about "the rest of her life up to that point"? It really is unrealistic to expect to know absolutely everything about Granny's life, you know. And, as has been repeatedly pointed out in this thread, Granny has grown in stature over the years.

seems to me that Granny is pretty extraordinary in ER and there is no reason for us to assume that she wasn't pretty extraordinary before then.

Accomplished, certainly. Extraordinary? I'm not so sure.

Consider: The wizards of UU are repeatedly described as being inward-looking and above all, complacent. This is made abundantly clear in Sourcery, for example. Few of them would have had much dealings with witches beforehand, and I very much doubt that any of them had ever gone to the trouble of finding out just how much magical power a run-of-the-mill witch really had.

Are you trying to imply that being beaten by a Sorcerer puts you in the lightweight category of magic practitioner?

Actually, it was a draw.

He felt drained. It had been decades since he'd duelled in magic, although it was common enough among students. He had a nasty feeling that Granny would have won eventually.

(p.174, Corgi p/b).

As the above quote shows, being top dog at UU doesn't guarantee that you're necessarily going to be performing lots of magic on a daily basis. To put it bluntly, Cutangle was badly out of practice.


Date: 20 02 1999
From: Mary Sophia Novak

The Arch-Chancellor is the top Wizz. Supposedly the most powerful wizard on the disk.

It's the "supposedly" that touches on what I was trying to get at. Anyone on the Disc will tell you that the A-C is the most powerful mage anywhere, but we've accumulated a lot of evidence to the contrary.

Beating the A-C of UU is special. If there had been several witches trying at the same time, narrative causality would demand that they all be beaten until Granny finally managed to bring the match to a draw.

But it isn't as special as:
1) beating a corrupt monarch by moving time 20 years ahead
2) beating one's more-powerful sister and narrative causality
3) beating the Elf Queen/Proud Titania and Borrowing a swarm
4) cheating Death and getting away with it.

What's more, every one of those accomplishments is, in context, more impressive than the one before it. (The last so much so that, frankly, nothing's going to top it for me.) If you can forgive some retroactive projection, it's not unreasonable (not a certainty, but justifiable) to suppose that Granny's accomplishments before ER, though no doubt impressive and exceptionally stylish, were all building blocks towards her first big coup in ER.

There's no question, at this point, that Granny is the most powerful witch on the Disc. But if you assume she began at "extraordinary", then what is she now? "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ly extraordinary"?

Hell, maybe she is. Even so, if her accomplishments are a linear (more like exponential) progression, that means that her past accomplishments were generally of a lower magnitude of amazing than the ones we've seen.


From: John Fouhy

I very much doubt that any of them had ever gone to the trouble of finding out just how much magical power a run-of-the-mill witch really had.

Well? Everyone knows that women can't do magic. Preposterous. Not worth our valuable time. And their brains overheat when they try to read. Well known fact. How can you be any use at magic if you can't read? How can you do anything if you don't KNOW what you're doing?

Anyone on the Disc will tell you that the A-C is the most powerful mage anywhere, but we've accumulated a lot of evidence to the contrary.

The Arch-Chancellor is the most careful wizard on the Disc ...

Sourcery:

Bluntly, Carding was surprised. He shouldn't have been. Eight-level wizards are seldom faced with challenging tests of magical skill. In theory there are only seven other wizards of equal power and ever lesser wizard is, by definition - well, lesser. This makes them complacent. But Spelter, on the other hand, was at the fifth level.

It may be quite tough at the top, and it is probably even tougher at the bottom, but halfway up it's so tough you could use it for horseshoes. By then all the no-hopers, the lazy, the silly and the downright unlucky have been weeded out, the field's cleared, and every wizard stands alone and surrounded by mortal enemies on every side. There's pushy fours below, waiting to trip him up. There's the arrogant sizes above, anxious to stamp out all ambition. And, of course, all around are your fellow fives, ready for any opportunity to reduce the competition a little and there's no standing still. Wizards of the fifth level are mean and tough and have reflexes of steel [1] and their eyes are thin and narrow from staring down the length of that metaphorical last furlong at the end of which rests the prize of prizes, the Archchancellor's hat.

[1] What reflexes steel has are uncertain. -- Me.

This actually suggests if Granny had come up against, say, a recently graduated Six (ie: someone who came out on top of the Fifths), she may have been more troubled..

2: beating one's more-powerful sister and narrative causality

Actually, she didn't beat narrative causality. It was on her side. It is quite clear who the "goodie" is -- Granny. Stories within stories, as they say, and Granny was the main character of the most important one :-)

3: beating the Elf Queen/Proud Titania and Borrowing a swarm

If Nanny hadn't invited the King along, would they have still won? Magrat would probably have killed the Queen, but the gentry would not necessarily have immediately retreated as a result..

(although I suppose if the queen is dead, and the marriage is off, the land would reject them)

4: cheating Death and getting away with it.

The poker? Did Granny somehow magically affect the hands that were dealt? (2 4-of-a-kinds in 2 hands is pretty unlikely)

If not.. I would say Death let her win (he was the one who announced his loss - Granny did not know what the cards were until then), because he was impressed, perhaps, by one who would risk all for the life of someone she didn't know (and one who had quite a lot to lose).


From: Matt Witherspoon

He not only announced that he'd lost...he announced a loss while letting Granny know what he was doing. Remember, he said that all he had was four ones. Ones, in fact, do exist in a standard deck of cards. Blackjack, Twenty-one, etc. They are the Aces. Death was holding four Aces and made a decision of his own.

Not a bad fellow, for a supposedly impersonal force of nature...


From: Mary Sophia Novak

Actually, she didn't beat narrative causality. It was on her side.

Uh-huh. She didn't beat Terry's narrative causality. But narrative causality is where Lily derived most of her power, right? By feeding people to stories.

I'm just saying, it's like facing down Diamanda. Of course Granny can beat some pretentious chit of a girl and her own big sister. But in both cases, the real challenge came from facing down the power that the women wielded, not in the raw power of the women themselves.

Did Granny somehow magically affect the hands that were dealt?

Not magically--Granny is such a good cheater she doesn't need to use magic, as established in WA

You spend months playing Cripple Mr. Onion with someone who has a detached retina in her second sight and you soon learn to be a good player

She doesn't admit that she cheats, but as you say, she gets impossible hands.

If not.. I would say Death let her win

Yes, Death let her win. But Granny knew very well what the cards were beforehand. Remember how it plays out? Death lets Granny deal, then as she's picking up her pile he insists they switch hands, which is fair enough--and Granny's reaction, though subtle, shows she knows he's got her.

Then it's revealed that she has four queens and Death has "four ones". That's the point where Death "lets her win"--by pretending innocence and calling aces ones.

It is a gorgeously plotted scene, and the best example of the balancing act that now exists between many of the most powerful characters. It stretches belief too much that even Granny could cheat death--he can't establish precedent like that with anybody. But with his increasing humanity, this is not a battle he especially wants to win. So he cheats himself.

However, to me the reason the episode is so crucial is that Death is so impressed by Granny W. that he lets her have her way, essentially just because she asks for it. When you've got so much moxie that Death will make special allowances for you, that's it. Your Biggest Badass On The Disc days have officially begun.


From: Gwyneth Ellis

It really is unrealistic to expect to know absolutely everything about Granny's life, you know. And, as has been repeatedly pointed out in this thread, Granny has grown in stature over the years.

I agree that we don't know much about Granny's past. However, I don't really agree that she has grown that much in stature over the years. Her character has been developed, certainly, but I am convinced that she was a powerful witch and one of the most powerful magical practitioners on the disc from the off. Yes, in later books we have seen more powerful feats of magic from her, but where has any growth in magical ability been shown?

I very much doubt that any of them had ever gone to the trouble of finding out just how much magical power a run-of-the-mill witch really had.

Hmm. I don't think Magrat or even Gytha would have fared as well. The wizards may well be complacent, but that doesn't make their magic reserves less, does it?

Actually, it was a draw.

More of a moral victory for Granny I think... :-) And there are other examples of her extraordinary magical powers in the first two Witch books. In WS for example, she cuts cleanly through a wooden horse with a bleached copper stick - just as if it really was the Sword of Art. Pretty good, hmm?

As the above quote shows, being top dog at UU doesn't guarantee that you're necessarily going to be performing lots of magic on a daily basis. To put it bluntly, Cutangle was badly out of practice.

The above quote shows that he doesn't duel in magic on a daily basis. It doesn't show that he doesn't perform magic on a daily basis. I bet he does, even if only to light his dog-ends:-)


From: Stuart Painting

where has any growth in magical ability been shown?

Specifically, in Lords and Ladies, where she Borrows the swarm. It was clear she regarded that as a substantial achievement, and something she had been working up to. Now I call that "a growth in magical ability" even if you don't.

I don't think Magrat or even Gytha would have fared as well. The wizards may well be complacent, but that doesn't make their magic reserves less, does it?

Perhaps not. But I think this comes back to Nanny Ogg's line (from The Sea and Little Fishes, I think) about "making what little talent you've got work really hard." Granny has this determination to succeed, and this allows her to pull off what is clearly an extraordinary feat (in the sense that no-one had dared to do it before). This moves her up the rankings - perhaps ahead of Nanny Ogg for the first time - who can tell?

Actually, it was a draw.

More of a moral victory for Granny I think...

But a draw nonetheless.

In WS for example, she cuts cleanly through a wooden horse with a bleached copper stick - just as if it really was the Sword of Art. Pretty good, hmm?

I don't know. I don't do magic, you see...

It doesn't show that he doesn't perform magic on a daily basis. I bet he does, even if only to light his dog-ends

I think you'll find he habitually used matches for that purpose :-)
Page 175, Corgi paperback:

'Um,' he said, 'do you mind if I smoke?' Granny shrugged. Cutangle struck a match on the wall and tried desperately to navigate the flame and the cigarette into approximately the same position.

Apart from the duel, the only other mention of him doing any magic is at Granny's express wish (left to his own devices, he wouldn't have bothered). And there are numerous references in other books to senior wizards not actually doing much magic (promotion via "dead men's shoes" being achieved by largely non-magical means such as poisoning or stabbing).


Date: 21 02 1999
From: John Fouhy

where has any growth in magical ability been shown?

How about:

WS:

See here, Esme. I mean, Black Aliss was one of the best. I mean, you're very good at, well, headology and thinking and that. I mean, Black Aliss, well, she just upped and went at it.

M!M:

There was a wicked ole witch once called Black Aliss. She was an unholy terror. There's never been one worse or more powerful. Until now. Because I could spit in her eye and steal her teeth, see.

[Granny vs ArchChancellor duel]
Hmm. I don't think Magrat or even Gytha would have fared as well.

Nanny might've. If she were sufficiently convinced that there was no alternative..


Date: 20 02 1999
From: Matt Witherspoon

If no-one's brought it up yet, I'd like to take apart the notion that the position of Archchancellor of Unseen University does not drop, by default, upon the most skilled and crafty wizard.

Remember that Mustrum Ridcully, aka Ridcully the Brown, was initially tapped for his position by a Faculty Meeting, which summoned him because they assumed that he would be an easily-manipulated rural-bumpkin figurehat <cough> I mean figurehead.

You don't have to be top wizard to become Archchancellor. You just have to be top wizard to stay Archchancellor.

The whole business at the beginning of ER had little narrative that in any way 'defined' GW's role, specifically or in regards to her standing in the Ramtops. It shifted into A-M, and the focus was always on Esk. GW did appear to be a bit weaker-willed than we've come to see, vis the weakness for old clothing and the telling of a fortune or two.


Date: 16 02 1999
From: Gwyneth Ellis

Precisely. Lilith gets her power from mirrors. It's not innate.

Lilith uses Mirrors to amplify her power. You cannot amplify what is not there...

So the Lilith/mirrors example precisely illustrates that the Weatherwax clan has got innate power.

This is also illustrated by the fact that the clan has had at least one other powerful Witch and an Archchancellor of UU. Coincidence? I don't think so...

When she says she 'chose', IMHO it is more a statement of her willpower rather than her potential for magic

Proving my point yet again.

Um. Does it? How? You seem to be saying that the possession of willpower and the possession of innate magical ability are mutually exclusive. If Esme didn't have the right character for the Elf Queen to manipulate then why did the Elf Queen bother to try? I guess we agree that Diamanda was chosen by the Elf Queen because she had the right sort of character (weak willed but determined?). So the Elf Queen can determine character. So why did she attempt to tempt Esme? Because she saw that she had potential perhaps?


Date: 17 02 1999
From: John Fouhy

This is also illustrated by the fact that the clan has had at least one other powerful Witch and an Arch Archancellor of UU. Coincidence? I don't think so...

'Anyway, I've known [Granny] a long time. Known the whole family. All the Weatherwaxes is good at magic, even the men. They've got this magical streak in 'em. Kind of a curse.'

(Nanny speaking to Magrat, WA, while Granny is playing poker, pg 108 of my Corgi p/b)


From: Jamie Crowther

Now the problem the faces us is: was Nanny therefore contradicting this previous statement in the Sea and Little Fishes? If she was lying at some point, which was the occasion when she was telling the truth? Does Granny have a lot of power, or a little and 'makes it work harder n' hell'? This just gets ever more complicated!


From: Tamar

Consider who she is talking to at the time, and what she is trying to accomplish by that speech.

In WA, Nanny is talking to Magrat, and WA is at least partly about their attempt to train Magrat on the job, so to speak. Nanny is also, in that scene IIRC, trying to convince Magrat that Granny knows what she is doing so Magrat won't interrupt and mess up Granny's plan.

In TSaLF, Nanny may have entirely different motivations and listeners. Nanny is certainly not above lying in what she considers a good cause, and that fact is specified in M!M (something about her considering truth as a starting point).

And there is also the question of whether Nanny herself really knows that much about Granny; she underestimates Granny at least once in M!M, after all. Nanny cheerfully accepts second place (usually) as being a good place to manipulate others from, using her specialty, human emotions. The number-two spot gets her, e.g., a lot more free drinks.


From: Tamar

TSaLF, pg.106 in Legends hdcvr:

Nanny is listening to Letice, who has just insulted Granny (in absentia) by saying

The woman clearly has a natural talent...

implying by this that Granny hasn't done a lick of work for her magical ability, it's a gift that Granny should be grateful for (to some god or other, no doubt).

Nanny, to counter this insult, says that

I'm the one who's nat'rally talented. .. I never really had to sweat at it. Esme, now...she's got a bit, true enough, but it ain't a lot. She just makes it work harder'n hell.

Nanny has been known to make statements for effect. Here I believe she is exaggerating how 'little' original talent Esme had in order to emphasize how hard Esme has worked to develop what she had (unlike some of the other witches present, naming no names, etc). Esme had 'little' talent like the well-known joke about how Shakespeare had 'little Latin' - he had enough to read the sources he adapted to write the plays (which is a d_mn site more than I have).


Date: 18 02 1999
From: the Magpie

Interesting point there. Further interesting point to be raised:

We get the impression, from the books, that Gytha Ogg and Esme Weatherwax are contemporaries. We also know, from the books, that Gytha Ogg "was chosen", while Esme Weatherwax "chose".

Query: Which happened first?

Speculation follows - but mainly about events in the past

Anyway, my take on the whole business is that Esme Weatherwax probably "chose" first. Then Biddy Spective (the witch who trained up Gytha Ogg), who would have been the local witch who knew how people "ticked", may well have chosen Gytha Ogg as her successor, partly due to Gytha's own qualities, but also because Gytha had the potential to be the one moderating influence on Esme Weatherwax. Remember, the tendency of the Weatherwax women to turn to the "bad" was known at the time, and there was also Black Aliss Demurrage to be thought of - it sometimes helps, when you've got someone who's got the potential to touch the stars, to give them someone else who can bring them back down to earth.

There are hints in the books of Gytha performing this role for Esme - for example, her reminding Esme of the way she used to be as a girl in WS and L&L. There's the "courtesan" references in M!M, and the way that Gytha Ogg, in general, lets Esme get away with things, right up until the point where she's over her head - at which point Gytha will wave the bag of sweeties at Pewsey (metterforically).

There's been a lot of speculation about what would happen if Granny Weatherwax left the coven at Lancre to their own devices. I think it would be more interesting to speculate about what would happen if Nanny Ogg went off for a bit. Imagine Esme Weatherwax with no moderating influence...


Date: 19 02 1999
From: Mary Sophia Novak

was Nanny therefore contradicting this previous statement in the Sea and Little Fishes?

If you have to have the two statements reconcile, about as well as you can do is figure that Nanny's comments about Granny's magic abilities never proportion out what is innate power and what is determination--except for the one where she says it's mostly the latter. Granny having an extraordinary aptitude for magic is not inherently contradictory with Granny not having an extraordinary "spark" of magic. Nanny might regard the aptitude as a "streak" or a "talent." Nanny, and very possibly Mrs. Cake and lots of other witches have more "spark" but none of them can push their spark anywhere near as far as Granny can.

It strikes me as an odd way to look at the world to assume that if a character makes essentially a chance remark in one book and then makes an apparently contradictory chance remark four books later, that one of the remarks must have been a lie. There's, what, a dozen people in this thread now? And even the super-well-versed among them have come up with about six quotations among them that specifically address this issue at all. (It's things with no definitive answers that make the best conversational hay.)

The Discworld books are internally consistent to an exceptional degree, but they ain't that consistent. How much power Granny had from the beginning has never been a driving issue with the character; it's always background radiation. It's just not that surprising that the answer to the question changes depending on whether Terry is focusing on the "Granny of the magic ancestry" plane (begun in ER) or the "Granny, the Self-Made Witch" plane (definitely appears in L&L, possibly not before, but has surfaced at least once since.)


Date: 20 02 1999
From: John Fouhy

I just found the other thing I was thinking of, DWC2:

Magical aptitude appears to be genetic, and the Weatherwax family has provided at least two witches of extreme power and one Archchancellor of Unseen University.

Note "extreme power"?

(or note "aptitude", depending on which side of the debate you favour..)


Date: 06 03 1999
From: Anthony W. Youngman

Bear in mind that in Real Life, it's usually those with less innate ability who turn out to be the better practitioners ...

Going to someone else's comments about magical potential, and how you can't improve a potential of zero, if you grade potential on a scale of 0 to 10, I would guess Granny scores a pretty even 2 or 3 in EVERY category. That's the point - the ability is there, it is well-balanced, and it's both low enough to force her to work at it, but high enough to make itself felt.

Probably most people, although with similar overall potential to Granny, have several 9s and several 1s, so they don't see the need to develop what is innate, and that hides their weaknesses else where so they don't realise there is anything to develop.


Date: 17 02 1999
From: Keith Jackson

If Esme didn't have the right character for the Elf Queen to manipulate then why did the Elf Queen bother to try?

I tend to agree with this but I think that it's the character that's the crucial part. I don't think that it matters to the Elf Queen whether someone has innate magical powers or not because she can give pseudo-magical powers. I would guess that Granny did have innate powers but Diamanda didn't. What the Queen was homing in on was the sense from both girls of being out of kilter with the rest of the population and the massive sense of anger and frustration being thwarted produced in them.

She could play on the resentment and make herself appear to be the only sympathetic person around until the girl becomes so dependent on Elf support that she can't resist when the Queen shows her true colours. Granny may have felt rejected but that gave her the determination to prove the existing witches wrong. Diamanda just resented things generally, not having the massive self-belief that Granny always seems to have possessed, so she was much easier to bend to the Queen's will and purpose.


Date: 25 02 1999
From: Chris Naden

I guess we agree that Diamanda was chosen by the Elf Queen because she had the right sort of character [weak willed but determined?].

Diamanda is not weak-willed. Not at all. If she were, neither would she have been able to stare down Granny (which was not about power but was about will) nor would she have tried to evade Granny at the stones and got herself into so much trouble.

No, Diamanda was not week willed. Diamanda was stupid. She was gullible. That is the difference between her and Esme Weatherwax. Esme doubted all, questioned all, disapproved of all. Diamanda had the will-power, but also had an education, and therefore a tendency to believe in things.


Date: 16 02 1999
From: Meg the Magpie

If Granny had her own innate power, the Elf Queen wouldn't have gone after her. She, like the other Weatherwaxes, had the strength of will to get power. That is why they are a magical family.

I'm sorry, but I have to agree with Jamie here. It is stated in CJ that the Weatherwaxes, and in particular the Weatherwax women are powerful, and the power sends them to the bad (rough paraphrase). My own contention is that if Granny Weatherwax wasn't innately powerful (ie gifted with innate magical ability), she wouldn't be able to perform feats of "true magic" (eg, making Nanny Ogg's hat explode in L&L) - she'd be limited to headology and soforth.

My own contention is that certain families have the tendency toward magical ability, and that it comes out in various ways - for example, Jason Ogg's ability in the smithy is partly due to his position as the Smith of Lancre, partly due to his possession of the mystic Horseman's Word, and partly because he's a child of Nanny Ogg's.

The fact that none of the witches are known to be the eighth child of an eighth child is neither here nor there - after all, both Nanny Ogg and Esme Weatherwax are older than most of the people around about them. There's fairly strong hints dropped, in WA, to the extent that Esme Weatherwax is much younger than her sister Lily (Nanny Ogg can't remember Lily, and we're given hints that Esme Weatherwax and Gytha Ogg are contemporaneous), and we've no idea how many brothers they had.

Lilith gets her power from mirrors. It's not innate.

Lillith is described as being vain, and always staring into a mirror, as a girl. However, it is implied in WA that she learned the technique of using two mirrors later, after she left Lancre. Certainly, despite all the power in the Weatherwax family, it's highly unlikely that she would have been allowed to try out and develop the technique while she was still living there. Therefore, for Lily Weatherwax to be ensnaring all the men around about (as it is hinted she did in WA), she must have some innate power.

When she says she 'chose', IMHO it is more a statement of her willpower rather than her potential for magic

Proving my point yet again.

How? I'd say that what Esme Weatherwax chose was to deny the darkness within her, rather than giving in to it - and the best way she knew of doing that was by going to the witches, and learning how to be "the good one". Remember, in WA, she confronts Lily with the knowledge that she (Esme) had to be the "good one" (which, indirectly, suggests that they were the only two daughters of the family), to counteract Lily being the "bad one". She chose to be the good one, and that choice has shaped her life - as evidenced by scenes in WA, M!M (the recitation of what she could do to Salzella - if she was bad), and CJ (the confrontation with her "bad" self).

Esme Weatherwax's choice was made, in my opinion, when she confronted the Elf Queen, and turned down the offer of taking the easy road to power. I think that within herself, Esme knew that power gained easily was more likely to take her to the bad, and since she'd decided to be "good", she had to reject the offer. It would have been that confrontation which drove her to the witches, determined to learn as much as she could, the hard way, with the skin. (Note: it's an established part of most lore concerning magic that learning the dark stuff is deceptively easy, while learning the light stuff is deceptively hard. This appears to hold true on the Disc).

Magrat was born with innate magical ability, which is why Goodie Whemper chose her. The Elf Queen wouldn't have had anything to try to bribe her with.

Rubbish! How about transforming Magrat into the self she wanted to be? Now, that would have been the ultimate bribe. The Elf Queen could offer the same bribe to Agnes, at the beginning of L&L - and probably have even more effect - except that Agnes grew up in Lancre.

The whole point is that Granny and Diamanda were the same, except Granny had willpower.

I'd say that Esme Weatherwax and Lucy Tockley were similar. Both of them were highly intelligent young women. Both of them were stifled by the confines of Lancre. It's just that Esme Weatherwax probably grew up with the legend of her grandmother, Allison (as told by her own mother), and of many other Weatherwax women who went to the bad, as well as the memory of her sister, Lily, and the things she did. She also knew about the stones. Lucy didn't. She went down to Sto Lat to school, and wasn't taught about the stones, or the reasons to avoid them - so she was vulnerable to the Elf Queen, simply because she didn't have the local knowledge.

Quite frankly, the statement that Esme Weatherwax doesn't actually have any power of her own is, in my opinion, a case of making too much soup out of the one oyster (in this case, the little scene up at the Dancers in L&L where Granny talks to Diamanda about the reasons for choosing). There are numerous other scenes, throughout the "Witches" books, which imply that she does have a certain level of innate magical power, but that she chooses not to use this all the time - for one reason or another.

Just as a final piece of clarifying evidence: Borrowing is "real" magic - it's what Granny shows to Esk in ER as an example of "real" magic. Now, I rather doubt that Esme Weatherwax could have risen to the point of being the All-Ramtops Borrowing Supreme Grand Champion without some degree of innate magical ability. However, if someone can explain that one away, feel free.


From: Miq

Lillith is described as being vain, and always staring into a mirror, as a girl.

The Lilith of Jewish mythology lives inside mirrors, and ensnares young women in precisely this way.

for Lily Weatherwax to be ensnaring all the men around about [as it is hinted she did in WA], she must have some innate power.

I'm not sure what this 'innate power' is that you're all talking about. Witchcraft is nine-tenths headology anyway; it requires a certain strength of will, and a very strong sense of 'self'. The magical power seems to consist of manipulating what George Lucas might call 'the force' - the 'mind' of animals, plants and inanimate objects alike. (Remember when Magrat 'blew' the cell door in WS?) I think witch-magic is more a state of mind than some sort of 'spell points'.

Remember, in WA, she confronts Lily with the knowledge that she (Esme) had to be the "good one" [...] to counteract Lily being the "bad one".

Can anyone explain the logic of this? The best I can imagine is that the Disc isn't big enough to hold two ambitious Weatherwaxes. Surely Granny isn't implying there's some sort of cosmic balance that forces her to counter her sister's 'badness'?

We know that witches have a very strong sense of obligation. So perhaps, when her sister went off, Granny felt obliged to stay and look after her family (at first) and (later) the people of Lancre generally. If Lily had stayed, then Granny could have gone off and had fun. I think that's all she means by 'being the good one'.

She chose to be the good one, and that choice has shaped her life

'Chose'? Only in so far as she chose her own ethical code. And witches have to have this element of obligation in their ethical code. Which is one reason why I find the scene in CJ so unconvincing: there's never the remotest possibility that Granny will elect to become a vampire.

Esme Weatherwax's choice was made, in my opinion, when she confronted the Elf Queen, and turned down the offer of taking the easy road to power. I think that within herself, Esme knew that power gained easily was more likely to take her to the bad, and since she'd decided to be "good", she had to reject the offer.

I think she was simply worldly-wise enough to know that no-one gives power for free. Diamanda is, quite simply, stupid. Strong- willed, but naive to the point of dumb.

it's an established part of most lore concerning magic that learning the dark stuff is deceptively easy, while learning the light stuff is deceptively hard. This appears to hold true on the Disc.

Because magic is, basically, 'dark' - the 'light part' means learning not to use it. That means overcoming the temptation to do things the easy way. (See Granny's lectures to Esk on starting fires, for instance.)

In Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea stories, there's a lot of emphasis on the fact that every act of magic has side-effects: you don't create something here without removing or transforming something somewhere else. Obviously, there's a considerable element of irresponsibility about doing this unless you know precisely what the side-effects are, which makes 'magic' far more complicated than it strictly needs to be. Terry seems to share this idea (it's made most explicit with the wizards, but I'd think the same applies to witch-magic).


From: Slippery Jim

Surely Granny isn't implying there's some sort of cosmic balance that forces her to counter her sister's 'badness'?

I think that this isn't to do with cosmic balance but more to do with the stories that WA is all about. Stories have a "good" witch and a "bad" witch, she is implying that they have to take on these roles to see the story to the end. if one of them takes the part of the good witch then the other must logically be the bad one. That is why Lilith is trying to be good throughout WA, she is forcing GW to be bad so that she will therefore be beaten.


Date: 17 02 1999
From: Mike Putnam

there's never the remotest possibility that Granny will elect to become a vampire.

I'm not sure what scene you're referring to, but if it's the one where Granny's body is laid against the anvil and she's off with Death in the shadowlands then I can't see where the "unconvincing" bit comes from.

If I've got it right, an enslaving-type bite from a vampire isn't optional - it doesn't involve the subject electing to agree. Vampirehood is injected, like a sort of non-physical snake venom. Someone (Mightily Oats, is my guess) says this explicitly. Agnes is no Granny (yet, at any rate) and is saved only by Granny's existing counter-attack. Agnes's own experience seems to confirm the non-optional aspect; she was falling into vampirehood with a dark non-tea thirst before Granny's "voice" (or blood) diverted the fall.

Granny's shadowland experience and choices aren't about whether she elects to be a vampire at all. She doesn't, desperately doesn't, want to be. But given the fact that she will be a vampire, by normal rules, she elevates the game to an even higher level on the border of death and life where she's confronted with an inscrutable choice of actions that even Death can't spell out to her (apart from advising her to choose right).

My own personal reading is that advancing into the light would have been Granny's departure from this world. Turning and walking into her own shadow (particularly strong in her case) would have been choosing her powerful dark side - in this case accepting vampirehood.

She, being Granny, finds the third way that wouldn't occur to most people. Backing away from the light meant choosing life, but not accepting her own dark side.

As I say, I'm not sure I have your reference right. But I can't see any other point where Granny can be said to have a "choice" of being a vampire or not.


Date: 18 02 1999
From: Lindsay Endell

Surely Granny isn't implying there's some sort of cosmic balance that forces her to counter her sister's 'badness'?

I thought it was along the lines that by the act of running away, Lily was the "bad one" - otherwise she wouldn't have left. That left Esme behind, and since there was already a bad sheep, she had to be good. Because that's how it works. Narrative causality, even!


Date: 17 02 1999
From: Orin Thomas

My own contention is that if Granny Weatherwax wasn't innately powerful [...]she'd be limited to headology and soforth.

How do you explain the quote of Nanny's in the Sea and Little Fishes then? That seems to go against the idea of Granny being innately powerful with magic.

Quite frankly, the statement that Esme Weatherwax doesn't actually have any power of her own is, in my opinion, a case of making too much soup out of the one oyster [in this case, the little scene up at the Dancers in L&L]

Well that and the quote again from nanny. Before the short story was published TP mentioned that it would raise a bit of debate around here IIRC. Perhaps this is one of the issues that he thought would provoke extreme comment.

I rather doubt that Esme Weatherwax could have risen to the point of being the All-Ramtops Borrowing Supreme Grand Champion without some degree of innate magical ability.

The some is not in doubt. It just appears from certain readings of the texts that the "some" might not be all that much.


From: Richard Bos

That seems to go against the idea of Granny being innately powerful with magic.

Not quite. It goes against the idea of her having as much power as she appears to have; she has some power, and makes it do much more than the, perhaps greater, power of the other witches by trying harder. She'd not be the first person whose determination did a lot with a moderate amount of talent.


Date: 12 02 1999
From: Richard Bos

The elf queen's choice of Diamanda in the first place perhaps indicates that Diamanda does have some strong magical ability. The only other person that the witch queen attempted to corrupt was a young Granny Weatherwax.

I got the impression that both Diamanda and GW were picked out by the queen for their strong ambition, not for their magical talent or strong character. Talent would be unnecessary anyway, since the queen could provide all that was necessary, but the subject had to want to be the best to fall for the queen's lure. Diamanda did fall; I think the only reason GW didn't was that she was already convinced of her own capability to succeed on her own, and wanted to do so. She neither needed nor wanted the queen; Diamanda did.

[which brings up a side question, what was Granny Weatherwax's title before she was awarded "Granny" ... just first name like Magrat? ...

Probably. After all, Nanny Ogg still refers to her as Esme, and GW to NO as Gytha.


From: David Barnard

But formally, Magrat is referred to as Mistress Garlick, so wouldn't GW have been Mistress Weatherwax? Of course, the change to Granny or Nanny would be very gradual, although Nanny Ogg would have passed through a state of Mrs. Ogg -ness. I think she was referred to as that at some point, somewhere.


From: Martin O'Nions

The elf queen's choice of Diamanda in the first place perhaps indicates that Diamanda does have some strong magical ability. The only other person that the witch queen attempted to corrupt was a young Granny Weatherwax.

Although this may be more indicative of the fact that both Esme Weatherwax and Diamanda Tockley wanted something badly enough to give their lives over to its attainment. I don't think there's any evidence that the elf queen needed her target to have any inherent power - she could provide more than enough for her purposes - just sufficient self-belief and desire. In the case of Esme, the queen badly underestimated the character and persistence of her desired slave, with the result that she had to wait for the next circle time to try again. She could sense the wish to gain ability in Esme, but not her determination to get it for herself.

Since the only powers the elf queen could 'bestow' (one suspects that she pulled the strings, rather than granting genuine power) would be magical, it makes sense that she would target people who were looking to gain magical ability. Additionally, given the local reputation of the Dancers, it would be more likely that only those with magical aspirations would spend much time there. None of this has any bearing on whether they had magical ability to start with

I think it also reasonable to hypothesize that Agnes, at this stage, would have been pliable enough to be "seduced" - hence the witch queen would have given her extra powers if she had more to work with than Diamanda. It doesn't seem supportable to hypothesize that the witch queen didn't choose Agnes because Agnes was too strong.

But Agnes didn't have the sort of deep-down burning desire to succeed that Diamanda had and would therefore be far less ready to overrule common sense by accepting something apparently for nothing. It could even be argued that someone who already had power would have less to gain from the queen's promises, in addition to being better able to recognise the risks, although I don't believe that any of the young coven would actually reason that out.

Which then brings into question Nanny Ogg's assessment of Agnes as the one with the talent. I think it strange that Nanny Ogg made this assessment and not Granny.

But Granny doesn't contradict her, which she is quite happy to do if she feels that Gytha isn't correct. I don't think there's anything in the books to suggest that Nanny Ogg isn't sufficiently magically competent to correctly identify others' talent.

Perhaps the talent which Nanny ascribes to Agnes is a recognition of Agnes being better suited to a Lancre role.

It's possible, but in the context of her remark, unlikely. The issue was one of whether the power that was being demonstrated was innate, or from elsewhere. It wouldn't have mattered whether the magic was witch, wizard, or sorcery if it had genuinely been at the command of any of the wannabes.


Date: 13 02 1999
From: Mary Sophia Novak

That's one of the things that's so great about CJ...since ER Granny has gradually evolved until by M!M she was the no-holds-barred Biggest Badass On The Disc, Female Division. Staring down Death until he did what she wanted. (Because Death chose to cheat on her behalf, which was a nice touch.) I recall there being some discussion back then that she was a bit too much the force of nature to be very interesting as a character anymore. And even now, we aren't learning any more about Granny than we knew before. L&L was her finest hour.

But now, with a flick of the pen...interesting things begin to happen again. She can't save every baby she tends to. She can't be swarmed by vampires and not even feel it (Mightily Oats flinging himself to the ground so Granny can "help him up" is as tender a piece of slapstick as I ever expect to see.) She can't, even, predict that anyone will ask her to be a godmother or name a royal babbie after her. Now the situation is that people's expectations of Granny have gone higher than even she can deliver. (Magrat's "If I had a choice between health, wealth and beauty and Granny Weatherwax on my child's side, I'd go for Granny every time" was quite the powerful statement, even if In Real Life it makes me a bit queasy.)

In the past I've seen Terry dispute the notion that he means for Vetinari, f'rex., to be read as completely invulnerably brilliant. Just because we haven't seen the man lose yet doesn't mean he couldn't. I think he wants us to read Granny Weatherwax the same way. It gets harder to make that believable, when a character stacks up nothing but victories, but CJ makes a terrific case for it.


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