Newsgroup Discussions: Why Must Granny Always Have Her Way?

Why Must Granny Always Have Her Way?

alt.books.pratchett

Contains spoilers for all Witch books up to, and including, Carpe Jugulum. In particular the discussion concerns Carpe Jugulum and Maskerade. It also contains a major spoiler for Season Five of Buffy the Vampire Slayer!


Subject: Why Must Granny Always Have Her Way?
Date: 27 Mar 2001
From: Flesh And Wine

At end of Maskerade, I was hoping that the fat girl (sorry, but I can't remember her name) would turn around and head back to Ankh-Morpork after Granny welcomed her back. With a renewed spirit of self-determination, she could have conquered the big-city music world.


From: Jenny Radcliffe

Agnes.
And because Granny was right, Agnes wouldn't have been happy. I think, anyway.


From: Stuart Ballard

That ending always disappointed me too. It seems to me to go against Granny's oft-stated dislike of forcing people into stories.

As early as ER, Granny was vocally opposed to Esk being forced into any particular role, whether it be Wizardness or non-wizardness.

WS was all about the Story imposed by a certain well-known real-world playwright who made it imperative, by Narrative Causality, that Tomjon be crowned king on his triumphant return to Lancre. Granny (with some assistance) bucked that trend and put Verence on the throne instead, even though he wasn't the real heir.

Granny spent the whole of WA facing down Lily, who was attempting to force-feed people into Stories whether they wanted to be there or not. Due to the unusually high influence of Narrative Causality on Discworld physics, she had a very tough time doing so; even Granny's substantial talents had to work hard to break the flow of the Story. This is where her dislike of Stories comes through most clearly - it's explicitly stated many times in the book.

L&L is slightly tangential, although a case could be made that Granny is opposed to the traditional Story of Elves as being good and nice.

And then comes Maskerade. Story set up very early; Agnes is "destined" to be a witch. She's felt their interest from the start. She instead goes away to try to make her own way in life - something which Granny should be all in favor of. And yet Granny engineers her to return home with her tail behind her legs to fill her pre-destined role (and don't tell me Granny didn't engineer it - she was all but omnipotent in that book). What happened to not wanting to force people into pre-destined stories?

The only answer I can come away with is that, to echo Nanny's keen insight, it all comes down to the general and the specific. "See, when Granny says 'you shouldn't' or 'you ought', she doesn't include herself."

Shame though - I'd usually expect to be able to hold Granny to a higher standard than that, when it comes to such core principles. Perhaps it's a case of absolute power corrupting... fortunately, it seems Pterry recognised the effect, because she's a lot less omnipotent in CJ.


Date: 29 Mar 2001
From: Charles A Lieberman

Or perhaps Granny read M!M and had similar thoughts -- she seems to deliberately withdraw in CJ. Or is she doing something more subtle and I'm just dense?


Date: 27 Mar 2001
From: Eric Jarvis

I'd usually expect to be able to hold Granny to a higher standard than that, when it comes to such core principles. Perhaps it's a case of absolute power corrupting...

several assumptions in this that are IMO a little off base

firstly Esme Weatherwax has always been a mess of contradictions...at least since Witches Abroad...she's got the capability of being just like Lilith and has to fight that in herself all the time...sometimes she succeeds, but a lot of the time she rationalises that she has succeeded whilst doing exactly what she wanted to do anyway

secondly...Agnes isn't succeeding in Ankh Morpork by her talent as a singer...she is succeeding by her natural ability as a witch which manifests itself as incredible singing ability

this is a dangerous situation for her to be in...as has been shown in other books...uncontrolled magic does some fairly strange things...and in Ankh Morpork it has a tendency to attract the attention of many that it would be better to steer clear of...the faculty of Unseen University being amongst the least dangerous

in fact Granny makes certain that Agnes is able to make her own decision to return to Lancre


From: Miq

WS was all about the Story imposed by a certain well-known real-world playwright who made it imperative, by Narrative Causality, that Tomjon be crowned king on his triumphant return to Lancre.

Oh, come now. No playwright made that storyline necessary.

As for Verence not being the 'real heir' - it's basic to several of the books that being the rightful heir to something doesn't cut much ice. In Verence's case, the key point is that he's actually willing to do the job, whereas Tomjon isn't. The whole point of WS is that it doesn't greatly matter who the king is, so long as he's in accord with the Land. Obviously, that won't be the case if you didn't want the job in the first place.

[WA]
even Granny's substantial talents had to work hard to break the flow of the Story. This is where her dislike of Stories comes through most clearly - it's explicitly stated many times in the book.

But all she actually does is create her own stories. She's still not above using them when it suits her, e.g.:

when an obvious innocent sits down with three experienced card sharpers and says 'How do you play this game, then?', someone is about to be shaken down until their teeth fall out.

It's not really a case of Lily fighting for stories and Granny fighting against them - it's more of a struggle over which of them can come up with a story that encapsulates the other.

L&L is slightly tangential, although a case could be made that Granny is opposed to the traditional Story of Elves as being good and nice.

Elves also 'use' stories - to entice the young witch-wannabees, and to break into the world (when the yokels perform their outdoor play).

Agnes is "destined"to be a witch.[...] And yet Granny engineers her to return home with her tail behind her legs to fill her pre-destined role

Well, how did Granny engineer it? What did she do to affect Agnes' decision?

I don't doubt she could have stopped her from coming back if she'd wanted to, but she certainly didn't force her to. I think Granny has considerable respect for Agnes, not least because she tried to make her own way.

she's a lot less omnipotent in CJ.

You jest, surely? CJ is the book that firmly establishes her as on a par with a fairly serious deity. (I've just re-read the book - twice - and I can safely say now that it is, by a large margin, my least favourite DW book. I just don't like it.)


From: Bapst Family

Me too. I don't know what it is. I liked quite a few parts of it, but I think it was the fact that it felt like things went a little to fast in the beginning. Also, a few things which happened with Granny and that phoenix were terribly confusing. It made sense sort of at the end, but I think I'll probably have to reread it several times to get it down straight. But, as I said, I found some parts like the Macfeegle and the young vampires wishing to be dull very good.


From: Kalle Lintinen

Go figure! I though Carpe Jugulum as perhaps the best Witches book and one of the 'nicest' DW books in general. It had the sort of new feel to it, like reading Mary Shelley who has a sense of humour. The way vampires were depicted and the fact that makes them so cruel were very original in many ways. Altough I have read it only once (as I haven't bought it for meself,yet) and may be lacking nuances.

And for the omnipotence part of Granny... It has been indicated in many other books that Granny is probably the 'grandest' witch around, so this was only pointing the fact out. And it wasn't even that she rose to the deity-level, but rather she rose to level herself, to see what she's made of [1]. At the same time all her strength and weaknesses unravel and we get to see just a little closer to the 'essence of Granny'. All of this is definitely IMO, but you can't help liking something [2].

[1] Which in this case isn't a lot of tubes and green wobbly bits

[2] Except the Nac Mac Feegles, who didn't really open up for me the first time and they most definitely require a second reading.


Date: 28 Mar 2001
From: Joerg Ruedenauer

WS was all about the Story imposed by a certain well-known real-world playwright who made it imperative, by Narrative Causality, that Tomjon be crowned king on his triumphant return to Lancre. Granny (with some assistance) bucked that trend and put Verence on the throne instead, even though he wasn't the real heir.

IIRC, Granny wanted to put Tomjon on the throne. Magrat changed that when Tomjon rejected, and the other witches didn't interfere. Granny explicitly wants to use the 'prince returns to avenge his father and regain the kingdom' story, including magic swords and everything.

Elves also 'use' stories - to entice the young witch-wannabees, and to break into the world (when the yokels perform their outdoor play).

And Granny uses that story to her advantage (fairy pease-blossom).

And then comes Maskerade. [...] And yet Granny engineers her to return home with her tail behind her legs to fill her pre-destined role

Don't focus too much on those stories. They play a major role only in WA, and besides, there are different types of stories. There's nothing wrong with Agnes becoming a witch. There's also the point the witches themselves are not part of the stories if they don't want it (or the story is really powerful), so a story that lets young girls become witches (without further reason) isn't going to be very successful anyway. Of course, you don't hear such a story very often - that could be proof ;-)

Well, how did Granny engineer it? What did she do to affect Agnes' decision?

She tells her about witching and gives her an example. She shows her that Agnes is better off as a witch.


Date: 31 Mar 2001
From: Mary Sophia Novak

CJ is the book that firmly establishes her as on a par with a fairly serious deity. (I've just re-read the book - twice - and I can safely say now that it is, by a large margin, my least favourite DW book. I just don't like it.)

CJ is one of my favorite Discworld books, because I like Agnes so much and like many of the other details--the Pictsies! Mightily Oats' reversal of Small Gods' lessons, the Agnes/Perdita split made manifest.

I definitely feel that Granny's omnipotence is greatly reined in, in CJ. It was Maskerade that skewed the balance of power so badly, and CJ helps to put it back.

L&L is all about Granny's death, and yet she doesn't die. It was satisfying at the time but the effects are shown in M!M. It didn't even bother me so much that she cheated Death in the card game (because Death was actually in control and wanted to be cheated) but the relationship with Nanny was terribly out of whack--there was never a moment when Granny's abilities were completely inadequate and Nanny's talents came to the fore.

I'd argue that while L&L is about impending death, the regrets over "what might have been", that CJ is about getting old. In its way it's a scarier prospect. Granny's feeling abandoned, unneeded, depressed. She gets into a situation where she's physically unable to cope. Yes, she Weatherwaxed the vampires, but it took a lot out of her, and it isn't all shamming. Magrat and Nanny are so used to seeing Granny as all-powerful that they can't really see it, but Mightily Oats can. (This is one of my favorite passages):

p. 259-60

Granny swayed a little. Her eyes had an unfocused look.
Oats glanced at her, made up his mind, staggered rather theatrically and sprawled in the dust.
Granny blinked, shook her head and glared down at him.
"Hah! All too much for you, eh?" she said hoarsely.
Trembling fingers reached down for Oats. He took them, taking care not to pull, and stood up.
"If you could just give me a hand," he said, as her grateful weight hit his shoulder.

Gods, I love that. It's so sweet, and so right - it's the perfect way to handle Granny.

And while L&L ended with Granny's death and resurrection, CJ does end with Granny's death, at least symbolically. "I ATE'NT DEAD" has always been a temptation to fate, and adding a "STILL" to it doesn't change anything.

I'm assuming she's still alive, but it seems to me she'll play a much-reduced role in any further Witch books, if they appear.

Why don't you like CJ, Miq? And which "fairly serious deity" do you have in mind? I can't think of one, unless you mean the vampires. I think facing down Death and Nanny's special chocolate sauce were more impressive than that.


Date: 01 Apr 2001
From: Miq

CJ is one of my favorite Discworld books, because I like Agnes so much and like many of the other details--the Pictsies! Mightily Oats' reversal of Small Gods' lessons, the Agnes/Perdita split made manifest.

Agnes is a very likeable character, granted. I'd describe Oats as showing the weakness of the Omnian reformation, rather than reversing it - he'd be no 'better' under the old-style Omnianism.

the relationship with Nanny was terribly out of whack--there was never a moment when Granny's abilities were completely inadequate and Nanny's talents came to the fore.

True - and that's a major weakness in M!M. Nanny starts to look distinctly surplus to requirements. But I don't see that CJ does anything to reverse that. And in M!M at least she's funny.

I don't think it's reasonable to say that L&L is 'all about Granny's death'. That's something that's only hinted at, it doesn't underlie the whole plot.

CJ is about getting old. In its way it's a scarier prospect. Granny's feeling abandoned, unneeded, depressed. She gets into a situation where she's physically unable to cope.

Not really. Yes, she's unable to stand without help, but do you doubt that if Oats weren't there, she'd find a way to cope without him?

And while L&L ended with Granny's death and resurrection, CJ does end with Granny's death, at least symbolically.

But we've seen her rise from the 'dead' too many times for it to be convincing now. She's worse than a vampire in that respect.

which "fairly serious deity" do you have in mind? I can't think of one, unless you mean the vampires.

The 'fairly serious deity' is generic. We don't really know much about the powers of the gods. I just mean that she's now officially more powerful than any mere human has ever been, not counting sourcerors.

Look at what she actually does in CJ. The vampires try to put their nature into her blood. Now, according to the vampires themselves - who should, you'd think, know about this - this is an infallible process. There is no way of resisting it. If they want to vamp you, you become a vampire. No saving throw. (This is contrary to most vampire stories, but if that's the way it works on the Disc, then that's the way it is. It's Terry's world, and he sets the rules. But setting a new rule only to show it being ignored is cheating.)

But Granny does get a saving throw, apparently. Because she's put herself into her blood first. And how does she do that? By 'borrowing'.

We had quite a detailed description of 'borrowing' way back in ER. It involves 'riding' the subject's mind, like a horse. How this could work without the subject having a mind to ride is not explained, nor even acknowledged as a question. Nor is there any explanation of why Granny- in-the-blood is stronger than vampires-in-the-blood, when Granny-in-the- head isn't. Granny claims that the count 'invited' her in - when exactly did he do that? He put something into her blood, not his own.

In short, the rules that mortals live by just don't apply to Granny. Not just the social rules that she's always broken - that's fair enough - but the rules that limit what she should be physically capable of.

Then there's the way the whole story is put together. There are many different strands here - the vampires, the Feegles' arrival, Granny's crisis of faith, Oats's arrival, the phoenix - all of which just happen to occur at the same time. Why? The only triggering event is the naming of baby E.M.N.S., but that doesn't explain why the vampires chose that moment to drive out the Feegles, nor why the phoenix just happened to arrive then, and Brother Perdore just happened to break his leg. There are too many unrelated strands coming together.

Compare this with L&L, where there are only two events - the return of the witches to Lancre after a long absence (which is set up by the previous book), coinciding with 'circle time'. Everything else - the wannabee witches, the unicorn, the play, the elves, the visit to the earthworks, the visit of the wizards - arises naturally out of those two events.

When I first read CJ, I looked forward to seeing how the witches would cope without Granny - they didn't. I looked forward to seeing what the centaurs were doing - nothing. I wanted to know why the phoenix was following the vampires around - it wasn't. It sets up some very interesting questions, then fails to answer them, falling back on the same ol' 'invincible Granny' solution to the mess.

But worse than all that - the whole book just isn't funny. I read it through with no more than a couple of smiles. I've read all the DW books at least three times each, and every single one of them still makes me laugh out loud repeatedly - except this one.


From: Mary Sophia Novak

I'd describe Oats as showing the weakness of the Omnian reformation, rather than reversing it - he'd be no 'better' under the old-style Omnianism.

Yes, but what I mean is that in revealing us the weaknesses of the lessons learned in a previous book, Oats is reversing the lesson in the same way that at different times strictly following "personal isn't the same as important" is the right choice, and sometimes it's the wrong one.

It seems to me that Brutha learned that a religion is strongest when it allows itself to be questioned, and Oats learned that sometimes you just have to stop questioning and go ahead and declare your faith in something.

I really, really like it about the Discworld that these contrasting viewpoints are both shown to be "right" in their ways. It's a hat trick that not many authors can pull off, or even think to attempt.

in M!M. Nanny starts to look distinctly surplus to requirements. But I don't see that CJ does anything to reverse that. And in M!M at least she's funny.

It's true that Nanny doesn't have the most interesting moments in CJ--I think "I'll see you nailed" in L&L was her finest moment.

But both Nanny and Granny seem to be moved out of the way to give the interesting stuff to the young bloods. Agnes, Oats, even Magrat and Verence each have more interesting and revealing moments than Nanny or Granny.

In a way, this is because both characters are played out. There doesn't seem to be anything much left to learn about them. Their characters have been fully revealed in previous books, and at their time in life, they aren't likely to change much.

I suppose that Nanny's diminished status in CJ didn't bother me as it did in M!M because it wasn't that she was being dominated by Granny. She and Granny didn't spend that much time working with each other, and when they weren't, Nanny seemed to have appointed herself Granny's champion, the main keeper of the torch believing that Granny can do absolutely anything. It's different from Nanny and Granny going head-to-head, and Granny winning every single time.

But there's any number of moments seen from both Oats and Agnes that show that neither of them were convinced that Granny is all-powerful. It's partly because they're both so good at seeing both sides of any argument, but also partly because they seem to be correct. Neither of them will ever become as invested in the Cult of Granny as Nanny and Magrat are.

I don't think it's reasonable to say that L&L is 'all about Granny's death'. That's something that's only hinted at, it doesn't underlie the whole plot.

Yes, there are plenty of other elements of L&L, but in my memory everything Granny does is connected to her impending death. The scenes with Ridcully are all about what might have been, witches know when they're about to die and she seems to think she will, and she's not at all certain that she can defeat the elves. Granny's connection with the elves is that she could have taken what they offered her when she was young and perhaps lived forever. It was an easy choice then; now she's not as sure.

There's also the great scene

You threaten me with this? Me? Who is becoming old?

she's unable to stand without help, but do you doubt that if Oats weren't there, she'd find a way to cope without him?

Yes and no. Yes, I think she'd probably cope, but no, I don't think it would be by drawing from some untapped reserve of physical or spiritual strength. If Oats wasn't there to lean on, she'd find someone or something else. But she needs to lean.

It's your choice to believe that Granny really is completely infallible, but I file that under the same category as those who think Vetinari is. Yes, in the structure of the stories, they are going to win pretty much every time, and when they don't, someone will happen along who can win the battle for them. But in every book except M!M, I don't have trouble believing that they could be defeated. It seems pretty clear to me that Terry wants us to think that Granny is vulnerable in CJ in a way that didn't matter very much in M!M. I don't have any problem going along with it.

we've seen her rise from the 'dead' too many times for it to be convincing now. She's worse than a vampire in that respect.

But for me, that's what makes the not-death so compelling. Nobody said she's dead. Nobody's even thinking it. And she probably isn't.

The power of that moment depends heavily on what happens in the next Witches book -- assuming there will be one. (Do we know this?) If the next book has a revitalized Granny setting off in search of Grandma Alison, then, yeah, it was a weak moment. But if she has a greatly diminished role, especially--I've been hoping this would happen--if we see Agnes as Granny's "student" going forth, then I accept that particular symbolic death as a powerful moment.

Though I don't keep up with the show, I heard some interesting discussion about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, that recently Buffy's mother died of cancer. I saw comments that the moment was very compelling because it was death on such a different level than the usual sixteen-per-episode vampire-slays, even the occasional Obi-Wan Kenobi-style heroic defeat. Those are storybook deaths; they're easier to distance from and the heroes tend to spring back like mushrooms. But quietly slipping away is also death, and it's closer to most real-life deaths. It's got more staying power.

It remains to be seen how/if Terry will use it, but narrative-wise, I think it has more power to stick.

Look at what she actually does in CJ. The vampires try to put their nature into her blood. Now, according to the vampires themselves - who should, you'd think, know about this - this is an infallible process. There is no way of resisting it. If they want to vamp you, you become a vampire. No saving throw.

We're told from the beginning that vampires are stupid. Vampires believe that they can vamp absolutely anyone, because they've never encountered anyone they couldn't vamp before. Exceptions like Granny are rarer than vampires.

Do you really think that Vetinari, Carrot, Brutha, Rincewind or even Gaspode, to name a few, wouldn't find some way around being vamped? They don't have the particular powers that Granny has, but they all have that same narrative force that means that, frankly, they're going to find some way around the inevitable.

The vampires think they know the rules of the Disc, but they don't. If they think that they're exempt from the rules that drive real-world vampire stories and give their victims a way out, then they're really off-base. Narrative causality is as strong on the Disc as it is in any other fictional setting. The whole thing with the vampires in CJ is that they think they can work around all the official silly vampire rules. I suppose it could be argued that because this lot are breaking so many of their own rules, without realizing that all those escape-clauses exist for their good as much as for their victims', that it forces the power of Narrative Causality to bend a rule they did believe in, in order to stop them.

But Granny does get a saving throw, apparently. Because she's put herself into her blood first. And how does she do that? By 'borrowing'.

Well, Terry gets a "saving throw" from me wrt any rules he established in ER. I would much rather the stories work as they do, than get hung up over rules that were spun out 20+ books ago. Discworld as a series neatly divides itself in my mind into books I consider canon (which get violated sometimes, too, much to my aggravation--cf Jingo) and books that are not. For me, Witches canon starts at Wyrd Sisters.

Granny's power increased so much between WS and M!M that finding new ways to Borrow doesn't surprise me at all. We only know what Borrowing is through what Granny thinks that it is. As she's gotten more powerful, she's pushed the envelope of what was believed to be possible, esp. Borrowing a swarm.

The leap that if there are single-celled organisms, which presumably could be Borrowed, that a swarm of cells could be borrowed as well, doesn't strike me as the hugest leap. I think that Granny and Terry get an out in that the words Granny may have used to articulate Borrowing in the past may not have been precise, because of limitations she now realizes didn't exist. Doing something because you believe you can is a very powerful Discworld magic. But the rules of Discworld magic are also not something that I get very hung up over.

And surely it's vampire canon that, while DW vamps do, indeed, put something in their victim that turns them vampy, they're extracting blood at the same time? That's what makes them vampires. Taking in Granny's blood, which the whole pack did, is how they "invited her in."

In short, the rules that mortals live by just don't apply to Granny. Not just the social rules that she's always broken - that's fair enough - but the rules that limit what she should be physically capable of.

Most mortals aren't witches. Most witches can't Borrow. Granny is the Albert Einstein of borrowing. It's not unthinkable that she could expand the boundaries of what was believed possible. And it's the same DW Mount Everest conundrum--now that she's done it, you'd expect it to be much easier for any other witch who attempts it.

There are too many unrelated strands coming together.

This is true, but not something that bothers me. I get hung up over characterization; not so concerned by coincidence.

It sets up some very interesting questions, then fails to answer them, falling back on the same ol' 'invincible Granny' solution to the mess.

Mostly true. I think the thematic connection between the phoenix and the vamps feels strong enough to me that I don't need it to be cause-and-effect (and I rather thought the phoenix was running from the vamps, not the other way around). But CJ strikes me as the set-up to a potentially very different set-up from the previous Witch books. I don't see how you could just dive into "Granny's in diminished capacity, everyone has to cope without her" straight after Maskerade, when she was so overwhelmingly powerful. Now we've got the Agnes/Oats/Perdita/Oats relationship to explore (which I only want to do if it's significantly different from Magrat/Verence), we've got Magrat as a mother and Verence as a king with a little respect from his people. Little Esme has all sorts of potential, too. It seems like the set-up for a different kind of Witch book, which remains to be seen.

But worse than all that - the whole book just isn't funny.

I know you realize this is subjective, but my subjective experience is entirely different. There's a lot in CJ that tickles me, much of which has been touched on already. Since I'm in two minds over everything, too, all of the Agnes/Perdita stuff cracked me up--the physical comedy of it along with everything else. I have a soft spot for the Venus-of-Willendorf, so the Nac Mac Feegle pleased. As far as I was concerned, the CJ humor was entirely up to snuff.


From: Miq

Agnes, Oats, even Magrat and Verence each have more interesting and revealing moments than Nanny or Granny.

Ye-es... but if 'moving them out of the way' is the goal, that could have been managed much more decisively. Heck, either or both of them could easily have died heroically. Logically, Granny should have died when she resisted the vamping effect - resisting undeath means choosing death. (Remember Baron Saturday in WA, or Windle Poons in RM?)

As it is, you seem to be arguing that they're slowly being reduced to irrelevance. Granny will become so self-absorbed that the rest of the world can ignore her, so long as people remember to keep taking her food and so forth - very much like a god, in fact - and Nanny will function as her high priest, making sure she doesn't turn her attention where it's not needed.

In a way, this is because both characters are played out. There doesn't seem to be anything much left to learn about them. Their characters have been fully revealed in previous books, and at their time in life, they aren't likely to change much.

It seems to me that the strengths you're attributing to CJ are a function of its place in an ongoing series of books - what I see as the weaknesses of the book, you see as necessary to fulfil a role in the ongoing series. I think that each book should stand alone. And if Terry thinks the characters are 'played out', why not gracefully retire them, or kill them, or at least shuffle them into less prominent roles? Heck, they're old people - their health and/or other faculties could be failing. Or they could just be too ill to play such an active first- hand role - they could direct the younger generation from their sickbeds.

Yes, the (relative) youngsters have more of the character play, but they don't actually accomplish very much, nor do they seem to make any important decisions. It's Nanny who steals the Magpyrs' coach and castle, and Granny who finds and takes the phoenix. There's no earthly reason why Agnes, Magrat or even Hodgesaargh couldn't have done that.

there are plenty of other elements of L&L, but in my memory everything Granny does is connected to her impending death.

I don't think so. Well, if you were in a particularly morbid frame of mind, you could argue that everything everyone does is connected with their own mortality, but I don't think Granny is particularly concerned with that. She's scared because she's losing her focus.

Granny's strength lies in her absolute self-knowledge - she never has the slightest doubt of who, what and where she is, even when she first wakes up. That's why she's so unsympathetic to Magrat's wish to 'relate to herself'. It's why she's so good at Borrowing, and it's why she can resist control by other powers so effectively. In L&L, because of the 'interference' from the other worlds, she temporarily loses that ability - that's what worries her in that book.

Granny's connection with the elves is that she could have taken what they offered her when she was young and perhaps lived forever. It was an easy choice then; now she's not as sure.

That's an idea he's used before - look at Desiderata Hollow's thoughts at the beginning of WA.

There's also the great scene "You threaten me with this? Me? Who is becoming old?"

That's a great moment, sure enough. L&L is one of my favourites.

It's your choice to believe that Granny really is completely infallible, but I file that under the same category as those who think Vetinari is.

Not infallible - invincible. She's perfectly capable of being completely wrong. But she can't be beaten.

We're told from the beginning that vampires are stupid. Vampires believe that they can vamp absolutely anyone, because they've never encountered anyone they couldn't vamp before.

Oh, come now. Even young Vlad is upwards of 200 years old - the count and countess must go back centuries - and in all that time, they've never heard of such a thing? What do they talk about, for 200 years of long winter mornings? (In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a university somewhere in Uberwald with dedicated teams of research vampires...)

Do you really think that Vetinari, Carrot, Brutha, Rincewind or even Gaspode, to name a few, wouldn't find some way around being vamped?

I suspect that Vetinari would accept vampirism quite cheerfully. After all, there are people on abp who have earnestly argued in the past that Vetinari may already be a vampire, and it's not clear that it would make much difference to his character. I think Carrot would probably accept it, similarly - he doesn't have the kind of lateral thinking it takes to make that saving throw. I suspect the others would find some way not to be put in that position...

I suppose it could be argued that because this lot are breaking so many of their own rules, without realizing that all those escape-clauses exist for their good as much as for their victims', that it forces the power of Narrative Causality to bend a rule they did believe in, in order to stop them.

Narrative causality is a fine and powerful force, but it absolutely, positively must play by the rules. Remember in MP, Victor knows that he'll reach the top of the tower in time to save Ginger, but only if he runs up full tilt - if he just saunters up in his own time, it won't work. Appealing to narrative causality to bend the rules of the universe is like praying to The Lady.

I think that Granny and Terry get an out in that the words Granny may have used to articulate Borrowing in the past may not have been precise, because of limitations she now realizes didn't exist.

It's not just something she explains, though - it's something we see for ourselves in that book, from Esk's viewpoint. I know a lot has changed on the Disc since then, but 'borrowing' has remained the same, as far as we can see.

When Granny borrows the swarm in L&L, there's a whole discussion about how the hive effectively forms a single mind in itself. But there's no such discussion here about how 'blood' somehow has a consciousness of its own. Again, you'd think vampires would know about that sort of thing, wouldn't you?

And if the willpower of the vampires is so much stronger than Granny's when they're all in the flesh, how come she suddenly becomes stronger when she moves into their element?

Taking in Granny's blood, which the whole pack did, is how they "invited her in."

Feeding = inviting? Isn't that kinda stretching things? Do you invite a cow into yourself when you drink milk?

I don't see how you could just dive into "Granny's in diminished capacity, everyone has to cope without her" straight after Maskerade, when she was so overwhelmingly powerful.

Well, she could have wandered off into Uberwald, like Alison Weatherwax. She could just have kept going when she left at the start of the book.

Now we've got the Agnes/Oats/Perdita/Oats relationship to explore

Re-reading, I don't think there's much to explore there. Oats has gone off into Uberwald - it's far from clear that we'll ever see him again at first hand, though we may hear occasional rumours about him.

Little Esme has all sorts of potential, too.

Most babies do...


Date: 03 Apr 2001
From: Mary Sophia

Ye-es... but if 'moving them out of the way' is the goal, that could have been managed much more decisively.

But it doesn't have to be. And it would be very upsetting to many readers (including me) if it was. Dying heroically, no coming back, isn't something to be undertaken lightly.

As it is, you seem to be arguing that they're slowly being reduced to irrelevance.

Pretty much, yes. The trend could reverse itself in a subsequent book, but at this point I don't see how. (Of course, it isn't my job to be able to see how--I'm not asserting that Terry doesn't have some solution in mind, but it isn't evident to me.)

Granny will become so self-absorbed that the rest of the world can ignore her, so long as people remember to keep taking her food and so forth - very much like a god, in fact - and Nanny will function as her high priest, making sure she doesn't turn her attention where it's not needed.

Um, perhaps this could happen, but it isn't what I have in mind. I see it more like "Granny and, perhaps, Nanny split off, or stay at home, and have some smaller theme-enhancing adventure while the others go off and have the main story happen to them." But that's just one option and maybe not the most likely, either. There are also other ways for Granny and Nanny to be outside the main action while the character-developing stuff happens to other people.

It seems to me that the strengths you're attributing to CJ are a function of its place in an ongoing series of books - what I see as the weaknesses of the book, you see as necessary to fulfil a role in the ongoing series.

It's definitely true that I appreciate the works as a series as much or more than I do individually. Characterization interests me more than any other literary element, and series open up possibilities for character development that are far beyond the scope of what one single novel/TV episode/comic book issue can do.

And if Terry thinks the characters are 'played out', why not gracefully retire them, or kill them, or at least shuffle them into less prominent roles?

I'm not at all sure that Terry thinks Granny and Nanny are played out. It's me that thinks they're played out. They, and he, could still surprise me. But if they do, well, it'll really surprise me.

The reason I think they're fairly played out is a personal one: I can't imagine what there is left to learn about them any more. I cannot envision a situation arising in which it would not be immediately apparent what sort of response they would make. Not the specific actions they would take; those could still easily show great ingenuity. But the general outlines of what they would do, the "well of COURSE Granny had to do that, she's..." and the "no, Nanny would never do that, because she..." boundaries--those are extremely well defined.

For me, at least, the boundaries are more clearly defined for those two than for any other character I can think of. While they may not always do it, most of the other major characters in the various sub-series feel as though they have the capacity to surprise me. I think I would argue that the next-most-predictable characters are Vimes and Rincewind. They both have wiggle room left, but if they're always predictable over the course of a book or two, they may be in danger of stagnating, as well.

I don't think so. Well, if you were in a particularly morbid frame of mind, you could argue that everything everyone does is connected with their own mortality,

No, that's not what I'm arguing, but I'm hampered by not having the book nearby. I'll table this point for a later date...

[Vampirism]
I think Carrot would probably accept it, similarly - he doesn't have the kind of lateral thinking it takes to make that saving throw. I suspect the others would find some way not to be put in that position...

Carrot could only be vamped if the story wasn't about him. There would have to be one hero who couldn't be vamped, who could save the others somehow, for Carrot to be among the crowd.

Well, she could have wandered off into Uberwald, like Alison Weatherwax. She could just have kept going when she left at the start of the book.

Would this really have satisfied you?

Re-reading, I don't think there's much to explore there. Oats has gone off into Uberwald - it's far from clear that we'll ever see him again at first hand, though we may hear occasional rumours about him.

I think if Agnes is going to get a relationship, it's going to be Oats. She may not get one. And as I said, if it goes just like Magrat/Verence--and right now it has the same general setup--I don't need to see it again. There's room in Agnes' and Oats' characters for them to take a substantially different path, and if they do I want to be there. If not, que sera sera.


From: Joerg Ruedenauer

(Granny and Nanny)
the boundaries are more clearly defined for those two than for any other character I can think of[...] I think I would argue that the next-most-predictable characters are Vimes and Rincewind.

That's definitely true, and I really like the solution Terry found in TT - Vimes seen through the eyes of another character. That's more difficult in Lancre, of course, since it's hard to imagine an important story in Lancre without Granny in a major position. OTOH, I'm perhaps not the most story-inventive person :-)

Rincewind is quite young and could perhaps undergo a similar change as Magrat did, but he's lacking the trigger so far (young Esme in Magrat's case).


From: Richard Bos

Carrot could only be vamped if the story wasn't about him. There would have to be one hero who couldn't be vamped, who could save the others somehow, for Carrot to be among the crowd.

Angua, I'd say - she's already undead. Actually, a book where Angua is the main character, not second to Carrot, would be a novelty.


From: Morgan Lewis

In Carrot's case, unless you subscribe to the Carrot-as-devious-bastard theory, I think it would be a non-issue (except for Vimes's, reaction, perhaps.) Margolotta and Otto have shown us rather convincingly that vampire != evil; Carrot would simply be an instant black-ribboner.

But yes, Angua as a main character instead of secondary would be interesting as well.


From: Cameron Wm. Akers

In Carrot's case, unless you subscribe to the Carrot-as-devious-bastard theory, I think it would be a non-issue (except for Vimes's, reaction, perhaps.) Margolotta and Otto have shown us rather convincingly that vampire != evil; Carrot would simply be an instant black-ribboner.

At the end of one of the Guards books (don't remember which one, I'm introducing a friend of mine to DW through Vimes and Carrot and Detritus) Vimes thinks something along the lines of "Yes, there was deviousness there [in Carrot] and he could see himself standing against him one day."

That is an exceedingly bad paraphrase, but I -- for one -- would love to see that sometime. Vimes disagreeing with Carrot on an important issue. This would probably tear apart the Guards, as Vimes is the commanding officer, but Carrot is the one who is "easy to follow."

It would make an interesting book, perhaps. (Of course Pterry has already thought of this and done with it what he will (file it, trash it, whatever =)))

Just thinking aloud, really.

But yes, Angua as a main character instead of secondary would be interesting as well.

That's what I thought would happen in T5E. Angua unfettered by Carrot's civilised behavior.

I was, of course, dead wrong. Can't predict the Pterry. =)


Date: 04 Apr 2001
From: Miq

I'd say that Angua has already upstaged Carrot in T5E. She's still not a main character, but she's more important than Carrot is.

From the moment Carrot arrives in Uberwald, he's almost completely ineffectual. He's quite useless in dealing both with the werewolves and the dwarfs - which is odd, when you consider his background...


Date: 02 Apr 2001
From: Victoria Martin

I wouldn't be surprised if there's a university somewhere in Uberwald with dedicated teams of research vampires...

,,15)

I would, just as I'd be surprised to learn that the werewolves have a team of research scientists investigating human/werewolf interaction. Nothing we've seen about vampire society suggests that up until CJ they have been anything other than mindlessly conventional and set in their ways. The Old Count is a prime example - and his old-fashioned 'gallantry' is preferable to de Magpyr's new order because it's less of a threat. Like many an aristocracy, the vampires haven't perceived any need to change. They're rich, they're powerful (within their own vast kingdom), they have a limitless supply of servants and all the blood they need - why should they want things to change?

The only vampires interested in change are Margolotta and de Magpyr, and they choose diametrically opposed means of going about it, but everyone else is happy to linger on amongst the cobwebs in their castles. Vampires are like humans - all they want is that tomorrow should be pretty much like today, and when today has you as top dog, you've even more reason to want things to stay the same.

Vlad and his trendy friends don't really want to change anything, they just want to shock their parents a bit (they don't really drink wine) and the de Magpyr family only go along with the Count's plan because he's a patriarch of the old school and they don't have the guts to resist him, but they aren't really convinced that change is either desirable or possible. So I don't have a problem with the notion that the vampires know less about witches, and about 'vamping' than they think they do.

Do you really think that Vetinari, Carrot, Brutha, Rincewind or even Gaspode, to name a few, wouldn't find some way around being vamped?

'Find a way around' is not the same as 'are actually bitten but manage to resist the effects'. CJ is quite clear that anyone but Granny would have succumbed if bitten.

I suspect that Vetinari would accept vampirism quite cheerfully.

I don't think there's any evidence for this. Presumably Margolotta offered him the option on the Grand Sneer and he refused it then.

After all, there are people on abp who have earnestly argued in the past that Vetinari may already be a vampire, and it's not clear that it would make much difference to his character.

It's very hard to think of a context, though. Since Vetinari apparently prefers being human, he would only 'choose' to become a vampire under duress, and why on earth would that happen? 'Become a vampire or the city gets it' - it's kind of hard to imagine a convincing scenario. Basically, vampires aren't political (again, de Magpyr and Lady Margolotta are the two exceptions and neither of those would have any reason to want to force Vetinari, or Carrot, or Rincewind to become a vampire).

More importantly, it isn't really a challenge that would be terribly interesting. Rincewind runs away from everything anyway, Carrot would presumably take the vampires-are-people-too line and Vetinari might well be pragmatic about it and figure that being a vampire wouldn't affect his ability to govern (Vimes, on the other hand, would put up a real fight). However, we don't really know what effect being vamped has on a person's character, so this is all no more than idle speculation - since Granny is so opposed to it, perhaps it does alter you dramatically.

The vampires think they know the rules of the Disc, but they don't. If they think that they're exempt from the rules that drive real-world vampire stories and give their victims a way out, then they're really off-base.

Again, it's really only Count de Magpyr you're talking about. The others seem quite happy to lounge around in floppy white shirts and pale make-up, biting the occasional neck in Don't-go-near-the-castle, and keeping out of the way of garlic.

Narrative causality is as strong on the Disc as it is in any other fictional setting. The whole thing with the vampires in CJ is that they think they can work around all the official silly vampire rules.

Which, you will note, they can. Even vampires ought to think for themselves.

I suppose it could be argued that because this lot are breaking so many of their own rules, without realizing that all those escape-clauses exist for their good as much as for their victims'

I'm not convinced by this - it sounds good, but what does it really mean? And it implies that someone put in the escape clauses, and who would that someone be? The point of the 'escape clauses' is more that they allow the various species in Ueberwald to reach an accommodation, just like the dwarfs and the werewolves.

Whatever the vampires' real attitude to humans (and I'm prepared to believe that most of them share Count de Magpyr's view that they're just cattle), the limitations imposed by sunlight, lemons, garlic etc. ensure that the balance of power is never so profoundly upset that the humans have to fight back.

De Magpyr's mistake lies in provoking rebellion and upsetting the Arrangement, not in ignoring the rules of narrative causality. After all, Lady Margolotta is also breaking the rules, but in a way that allows vampires and humans to coexist peacefully (although I can see that large numbers of vampires emigrating to Ankh-Morpork are going to cause more ethnic tension than either the dwarfs or the trolls).

Narrative causality is a fine and powerful force, but it absolutely, positively must play by the rules.

I think you can ascribe too much power to Narrative Causality. I'll buy it for low-level effects like the chandelier in the opera house, but not as a plot engine. Aside from anything else, narrative causality has a tendency to treat people like things, and hence is actually a force that must be resisted, not appealed to.


From: Miq

Nothing we've seen about vampire society suggests that up until CJ they have been anything other than mindlessly conventional and set in their ways.

Oh, come now. How about Arthur Winkings in RM, or Dragon King of Arms? Dragon in particular looks like someone given to thinking about his species and its position in the food ch^W^W^Wsociety. And now we've got Otto Chriek, who's hardly "mindlessly conventional and set in his ways".

I suspect that Vetinari would accept vampirism quite cheerfully.

I don't think there's any evidence for this. Presumably Margolotta offered him the option on the Grand Sneer and he refused it then.

No, there's no actual evidence - it's purely a personal interpretation of his character. He would have been a young man then - as has been noted elsewhere, immortality starts to look more attractive as you grow older.

If Vetinari became a vampire, I suspect he'd carry on very much as he does now, although probably with more meat in his diet. Even if he was theoretically 'subservient' to the vampire that made him, he'd have no difficulty manipulating his 'master' to want what he wants. And so he'd 'live' happily ever after, more or less.


Date: 03 Apr 2001
From: Richard Bos

How about Arthur Winkings in RM, or Dragon King of Arms? And now we've got Otto Chriek, who's hardly "mindlessly conventional and set in his ways".

Yes, but none of those is part of ordinary "vampire society"; Arthur W. is actually very much uncomfortably in his role, Dragon has been living in A-M for, probably, centuries, and Otto has left normal vampire circles on purpose. All vampires that we see that are part of the normal vamppire society are indeed your bog-standard traditionalists, and live in places like Ueberwald where this is, in fact, expected of them.


Date: 04 Apr 2001
From: Victoria Martin

Oh, come now. How about Arthur Winkings in RM

Arthur is a newly-made vampire, struggling to conform to the conventions within his limited resources of the upwardly mobile lower middle class. He at no point suggests that you can be a vampire without the castlette and the cobwebs, indeed to him and Doreen the trappings are what make a vampire, just as his RW equivalent would believe that having inherited your title, you need to adopt an appropriate lifestyle.

or Dragon King of Arms? Dragon in particular looks like someone given to thinking about his species and its position in the food ch^W^W^Wsociety.

And yet, after however many hundreds of years in A-M, he seems as conventional as the Old Count - his only interest is in breeding 'cattle', he lives in a dingy, becobwebbed room surrounded by old books and guttering candles, and believes himself to be effortlessly superior to the cattle around him. Dragon hasn't adpated to A-M, he's just found a comfortable niche where he can continue being a traditional vampire.

And now we've got Otto Chriek, who's hardly "mindlessly conventional and set in his ways".

Ah, but Otto is following Margolotta's lead. The temperance movement is quite clearly her initiative, part of her strategy to enable vampires and humans to co-exist. He's evidence that her approach is succeeding where de Magpyr's failed, but he's hardly the brains behind it. It was Margolotta who initiated the change, Otto is one of a number of a vampires following that model.

[Vetinari and vampirism]
He would have been a young man then - as has been noted elsewhere, immortality starts to look more attractive as you grow older.

It depends what price immortality brings with it. We know so little about the effects of vamping, that it's hard to argue either way, but we do know that anyone who doesn't freely choose to become a vampire winds up as a slave, so it would have to be a free choice. What reasons could be adduced for actively wishing to become a vampire? Immortality, which may or may not seem more attractive as one ages. And the reasons against? A distaste for the kind on non-life available to the undead, a fear of how one's personality may be changed, one's behaviour modified, one's values transformed, by the effects of vamping or of immortality itself.

If we assume, and it's only an assumption, that Vetinari's prime point of reference in making any major decision is 'How will it impact upon A-M?' then I find it hard to believe that he would decide that an immortal Vetinari was in its best interests, and hence I suspect he would decline.

What we've seen of most other vampires suggests that they become, at the least, obsessive, and that their craving for blood is extremely hard to control. Vetinari doesn't seem likely to opt for an existence where he's constantly having to battle against compulsions, even though we've every reason to believe he would win those battles. Being a Black Ribboner doesn't protect you against the desires aroused by heaving bosoms or the smell of blood, and it's hard to imagine Vetinari clinging to a chair and singing loudly about cocoa.

If Vetinari became a vampire, I suspect he'd carry on very much as he does now, although probably with more meat in his diet. Even if he was theoretically 'subservient' to the vampire that made him, he'd have no difficulty manipulating his 'master' to want what he wants.

As far as I can see, subservience only applies to those vamped against their will, and it is total. If you choose it freely, you're your own master, but no longer quite the person you once were.


Date: 17 Apr 2001
From: Chris Connelly

A new slant on things:

Maybe Pterry has been giving us a big hint all along. Whenever Granny goes borrowing, she hangs a sign around her neck saying "I Aten't Dead". This COULD be read as "I Am Undead".

Another reason that the vampires can't take her over?


Date: 03 Apr 2001
From: Mary Sophia Novak

I don't think there's any evidence for this. Presumably Margolotta offered him the option on the Grand Sneer and he refused it then.

I think not wanting to live forever slots in with the same austere lifestyle that considers bread and water an admirable sufficiency, and believes in moderation in all things. Eternal life is not moderation.

More importantly, it isn't really a challenge that would be terribly interesting.

My point wasn't so much that the books would be interesting, as that if the Magpyrs had arrived in Ankh-Morpork or run into Rincewind that they would be any more likely to win, and all subsequent Guards or Wizards books would have to make room for heroic bloodsuckers. Granny is only the most obviously invincible character; there are a number of others because not even the Guards are "red shirts" any more.

I suppose it could be argued that because this lot are breaking so many of their own rules, without realizing that all those escape-clauses exist for their good as much as for their victims'

I'm not convinced by this - it sounds good, but what does it really mean? And it implies that someone put in the escape clauses, and who would that someone be?

I guess that I wasn't speaking of Narrative Causality as a physical force on the Disc, but of Narrative Causality as a force on the Discworld books. The vampires aren't going to win. Period. The main characters have to escape somehow. If they need a nudge, their Creator (Terry) will give it to them, because the story can only end in certain ways. It's better if the viewers can't see the nudge, but it doesn't bother me as a reader to see it occasionally. It obviously bothers MiQ much more, and that's his perogative. However, some of the possibilities he's spun out in this thread (Granny wanders off at the beginning of CJ, never to return) would be much greater violations of real-world narrative causality, and would bother me considerably more than a minor plot-cheat.

Aside from anything else, narrative causality has a tendency to treat people like things, and hence is actually a force that must be resisted, not appealed to.

True, but narrative causality is a tremendous force in real-life stories. It's up to the writer to decide when to go with the flow and when to paddle against the current. The right combination makes a book electrifying; the wrong one means you're swamped.


Date: 04 Apr 2001
From: Victoria Martin

I guess that I wasn't speaking of Narrative Causality as a physical force on the Disc, but of Narrative Causality as a force on the Discworld books.

That is a different level of discussion and not, I submit, one which can legitimately be employed within the framework of the argument MiQ has constructed.

The vampires aren't going to win. Period. The main characters have to escape somehow. If they need a nudge, their Creator (Terry) will give it to them, because the story can only end in certain ways. It's better if the viewers can't see the nudge, but it doesn't bother me as a reader to see it occasionally. It obviously bothers MiQ much more, and that's his perogative.

I'm totally with MiQ on this one. If the author (any author) can't reach the ending they want without straining the reader's credulity, then they've done a bad job. Anyway, it simply isn't true that the story 'can only end in certain ways'. That statement implies that genre is a straitjacket which wholly restricts freedom of movement, yet it's often the best works within a particular genre that kick against the constraints and rewrite the rules. But perhaps all you meant was 'Terry doesn't write unhappy endings', in which case the obvious rejoinder is 'That's fine, but the happy endings need to work' (they need to be internally consistent and ideally not to be the result of some deus ex machina).

However, some of the possibilities he's spun out in this thread (Granny wanders off at the beginning of CJ, never to return) would be much greater violations of real-world narrative causality, and would bother me considerably more than a minor plot-cheat.

Do you mean 'conventions' rather than causality? A violation of convention, done well, can be a very powerful thing. Look at Psycho - abandoned the convention that the heroine should live longer than the first 15 minutes of the film, and was all the better for it. I don't really see the point of discussing different books Terry might have written in order to get round the problem of the ending of CJ, but I do think it's legitimate to say 'This is the book he wrote, and as it stands there's a big problem with the ending'.

True, but narrative causality is a tremendous force in real-life stories.

Again, this is a different level of argument. Narrative causality on the DW is an entirely different phenomenon from genre conventions in contemporary Western fiction and the sleight of hand by which you're attempting to substitute the one meaning for the other isn't playing fair. If I might summarise the argument thus far as I see it, MiQ is saying 'The ending of CJ is weak because the mechanism whereby Granny defeats the vampires isn't consistent with our knowledge of the DW' and you're saying 'True, but I'd rather have a weak ending than a different story'. So ultimately you're both saying the same thing ('tis ever thus).


Date: 17 Apr 2001
From: Mary Sophia Novak

In Maskerade, Granny really only went to AM NOT to force Agnes back to Lancre - she knew the witch traits would eventually win out and Agnes would seek her heritage. She went to correct the terrible thing that was going to happen to the Phantom. AND, incidentally, to correct the wrong that had been done to Nanny when the publisher sold her book making so much profit and tried to keep her ignorant of it.

I've never seen her motives as quite this noble. I think she was bored and let Nanny manipulate her into getting out a bit. (But I agree, she wasn't there to force Agnes to become a witch.)

I never did see it as a battle of wills between Granny and Agnes. Agnes just tried not to go down the inevitable path which she set her feet on the first time she joined Diamanda in her little group in L&L and brought herself to the attention of the witches in the first place.

I think Agnes was on the path to becoming a witch a lot longer than that. If she hadn't been noticed by Nanny then, it would have been at another time. There's nothing about joining Diamanda's gang that makes Agnes any more magical than she already was.

She became a little prejudiced against witchery BY Diamanda and had some misconceptions to work out.

Actually, I don't think she had any problem being prejudiced towards witchcraft by the evidence of the actual witches. She knew better than any of the other followers that what Diamanda was up to had very little to do with witchcraft.

Joining up with Diamanda's gang, like running away to the opera house, were both attempts to fit in, which is what Agnes always thought she wanted. She was repelled by the witches because they never fit in, and she didn't want to believe that she was like them, and certainly didn't want to feel she'd been forced to be like them.

But what she's capitulating to at the end of Maskerade is that she will never fit in, but that it isn't the worst fate in the world. Fitting in would be appallingly boring to Agnes.

In truth, every Witch can be what they are.

Exactly. But it takes Agnes a while to understand that.


Date: 02 Apr 2001
From: Cathryn Johns

Appealing to narrative causality to bend the rules of the universe is like praying to The Lady.

Good point. In a way, an argument as to why even if there is no such thing as free will, we have to act as if there is (I mean, it'll all happen anyway - but not if we don't do it - oh, that's not coming out right - never mind, I know what I mean :-)

Do you invite a cow into yourself when you drink milk?

Well, yes, in a way :-) I mean, you're taking in a bit of cow-ness, right? But I think the point is that something like that is necessarily bi-directional (something like the saying "you can't give a hug without getting one back" - Garfield, I believe).


From: Peter Ellis

When Granny borrows the swarm in L&L, there's a whole discussion about how the hive effectively forms a single mind in itself. But there's no such discussion here about how 'blood' somehow has a consciousness of its own.

OK, I've seen you arguing this point for a long while now, on and off, but I still can't see where you've got the "Borrowing" angle from. Nowhere does Granny state that her trick with her blood is in any way equivalent to Borrowing.

The closest reference I can find is where the Count says 'The famous Borrowing trick', which Granny explicitly counters immediately with 'All you know about me is what you can get out of other people's minds.'

I've never seen the one (Borrowing) as in any way identical, or even any more than tangentially connected to the other (storing the 'soul' in some kind of container to prevent death).

What Granny's done here is not to Borrow her blood, but to literally store some part of her self in it, just as Ipslore did with his staff, just as is common in worldwide tales and innumerable references of "Immortal wizard who cannot be killed because his soul is elsewhere".

It's a technique that runs right from Kaschei the Deathless (or earlier), through Sauron investing himself into the Ring, down to the Soulstones in Diablo II, if you want a modern reference derived from the myths.

How this storing of herself in her blood allows her to fight the vampirification effect is unclear; I believe that since she's inhabiting her blood rather than inhabiting her body at the time, the "vamp" power never becomes internal to her -- it's in the blood with her, rather than being in the blood inside her -- and she's thus able to confront it on equal terms rather than it being an unconquerable "enemy within".

If she'd stored her "self" in an egg, then while she remained in that egg she'd be safe from vampirification, but she could never return to her body while the vamp effect was in the blood inside it, behind the barriers.

Do you invite a cow into yourself when you drink milk?

No, because the cow is not in its milk. However, if instead of smashing the egg with Kaschei's soul, Ivan had swallowed it whole, I imagine he'd have had more to worry about than just constipation. What if Frodo hadn't had Gollum to save him and had thus kept the Ring, inviting the power within it to use him as its vehicle?

In conclusion -- Granny did not Borrow her blood, nor do I see any evidence that the book implies she did. She used it as an unconscious receptacle to store a part of her soul (life force, power, call it what you will), tricking the vampires into unwittingly inviting that power into themselves. It's a matryoshka doll set repeating the theme of invitation (Verence unwittingly invites in his conquerors, who in turn invite their own fate), mirroring the way Granny stores her self inside herself.


From: Keith Ray

The vampires just encountered a particularly effective form of "you are what you eat".


Date: 15 Apr 2001
From: clotilde

Granny is faced with something new threatening life in Lancre and the Kingdom.

Granny comes up with something new to combat it. Using Headology she lets them get the idea of Borrowing, a common Witch trait which She is well-known to be very good at. The vampires think they have her figured out. Therefore, she Appears to be doing exactly what they thought she would do.

And then when push comes to shove - she turns over the last card. And, AHA! It wasn't that at all.

In each book, we discover something new about Granny. But one thing we do know, whatever circumstance arises, no matter what she believes, if necessary, she rearranges her actions and makes up what she needs to succeed and win the day.

And back to the original thread - In Maskerade, Granny really only went to AM NOT to force Agnes back to Lancre - she knew the witch traits would eventually win out and Agnes would seek her heritage. She went to correct the terrible thing that was going to happen to the Phantom. AND, incidentally, to correct the wrong that had been done to Nanny when the publisher sold her book making so much profit and tried to keep her ignorant of it. For the most part, they made some effort to stay out of Agnes' way. Even going so far as to pretend they didn't see her sneaking away from them on the street.

The way I read it...Witches and Wizards both are born with the inclination to BE Witches and Wizards and are drawn to the magic. They may never be good ones (like Rincewind or Cutworth) But they will BE them. They can make their choices and turn away, as displayed in L&L when we find out that in another path, Ridcully did, in fact, give up wizarding and marry Esme. Also, in Sea & Little Fishes (Legends book) we see a witch who is married to an ex-wizard and we are certainly aware, i'm sure, that Cutworth secretly gave it up. But I think that they will at least lean toward it and Agnes may have resisted but in the end she knew that she would go back. She will learn from Magrat's books and from being around the other witches. If she asks, they will show her what they know.

I never did see it as a battle of wills between Granny and Agnes. Agnes just tried not to go down the inevitable path which she set her feet on the first time she joined Diamanda in her little group in L&L and brought herself to the attention of the witches in the first place. She became a little prejudiced against witchery BY Diamanda and had some misconceptions to work out. In truth, every Witch can be what they are. Nanny the girl running after boys and marrying several times and having all those children. Granny the spinster crone. Magrat the new age seeker who fell into marriage with a king. None of these people were any the less because they became witches. They may have become More but not less.


Date: 17 Apr 2001
From: flyingskull

Yes, and a couple of other points. First CJ ending is a punning ending - you know, vampires make living people into undead vampires with no moral sense whatsoever, they do this by drinking people's blood (the injecting is a Anne Rice thing) and when that person dies he/she becomes an undead. so they drink Granny's blood and it's infected with her strong moral sense. The very VERY strong moral sense that makes her oppose all she sees as contrary to what Magrat soppily refers to "the great loving circle of nature" but it's reality the same ethical principle Vimes goes by and that's why they are both always so angry. Vampires get infected by JUSTICE. Poor undeads, how can they survive? A pun.

Second, Granny has lots going for her, powers, intelligence, obstinacy, compassion... and AGE. She has experience. That's why she and Nanny are the greatest witches on the Disc. They not only have talent, but, like Cohen, they have had that talent a long long time AND they've been using it. So they know a lot of things, because the more you live the more you know if you are able to learn. That's what Magrat and Agnes do: they learn. Agnes, especially learns that it's alright to rebel against older people, but only if it makes you grow as a person. Being idiot Cameron Diaz look alike dubbing voice is NOT satisfying by any standards. She can only go and be a witch or she can invent jazz. or she can, as Congreve said, "dwindle into a wife". I think Perdita would have a thing or two to say to that.


Date: 02 Apr 2001
From: Miq

OK, I've seen you arguing this point for a long while now, on and off,

Ever since the book first appeared, in fact.

but I still can't see where you've got the "Borrowing" angle from. Nowhere does Granny state that her trick with her blood is in any way equivalent to Borrowing.

Okay - let's assume for a moment that it's not borrowing. Let's assume that it's some hitherto-unmentioned ability whereby she puts her 'soul', for want of a better word, into some other receptacle.

Already this sounds disturbingly like a ticket to immortality. Maybe Granny would not stoop to stealing someone else's life, but there have been less morally-upright powerful witches in the past. Why didn't Black Aliss simply put herself into the body of one of the two kids?

(Maybe she did. Maybe Granny is Black Aliss...)

And why hasn't she done this before? In L&L she's threatened with bodily death, and has no shortage of other possible places to put herself, but she stays. In WA, when she jumps off the tower, Nanny, Magrat and Lily don't mention this trick as a potential get-out.

Yes, there are innumerable cases in other literature of various entities being able to do this sort of thing. But I find it hard to believe that Terry would not only stoop to such a cheap trick ("Stargate SG-1", anybody?), but also spring it on us without warning after six books featuring Granny as main character.

How this storing of herself in her blood allows her to fight the vampirification effect is unclear; I believe that since she's inhabiting her blood rather than inhabiting her body at the time, the "vamp" power never becomes internal to her -- it's in the blood with her, rather than being in the blood inside her -- and she's thus able to confront it on equal terms rather than it being an unconquerable "enemy within".

But when she comes round, after the vampires drink from her, she's back in her body. At the same time, she's strong enough not only to fight the vampirism within her own body, but also to infect the other vampires.

What does she infect the other vampires with, exactly? What are the characteristics of this 'weatherwaxing'? Well, first, the vampires suddenly suffer from her scruples and limitations. If it's a sort of reverse-vampirism, this is fair enough (a newly created vampire also suffers from aversion to sunlight). But at the same time, they also regain all a vampire's traditional disadvantages, and lose all their equally traditional advantages. Suddenly they're allergic to garlic and unable to fly. Suddenly they're craving tea and hurt by holy symbols. What is the logic at work here?

I don't know about some of the cases you mentioned, but when Sauron invested part of himself in the Ring, he was considerably weakened, not strengthened, by the process. Ipslore the Red moved into the staff, sure, but only by abandoning his own body completely (and permanently).

What if Frodo hadn't had Gollum to save him and had thus kept the Ring, inviting the power within it to use him as its vehicle?

I don't think Tolkien and Terry think in anything like the same terms, so this is probably an unhelpful line of reasoning, but - there's no suggestion in LotR that the Ring-wielder would become in any way 'possessed' by Sauron. The general idea is that they'd be corrupted by the power.

My own interpretation (and this is getting somewhat OT, so I'm not going to expand on it beyond this paragraph) is that the Ring confers power to do certain things - to conceal yourself, to know secrets, to dominate and terrify others - which can, if used properly, be converted into tremendous power, but that power itself can only be used by someone ruthless and domineering. To a scrupulous person, it's useless. So it can only be used for evil.


Date: 06 Apr 2001
From: Stephen Tempest

Already this sounds disturbingly like a ticket to immortality.

Why? Why should such a trick fool Death for one moment? If the sand in her lifetimer ran out, he would find her soul wherever it was hiding. Of course, that might leave an empty body somewhere looking for a soul to fill it, but her soul would be gone.


Date: 04 Apr 2001
From: Mary Sophia Novak

If the author (any author) can't reach the ending they want without straining the reader's credulity, then they've done a bad job.

<fx: sheepish grin in manner of Bertie Wooster> I've been going farther and farther out on a limb that was shaky to begin with (hence the wembling "I suppose it could be argued..." in the original statement, rather than "I argue...,") So I will concede the limb to be broken, pull the gorse bits off myself, and move on.

However, I also note that in the course of this thread a number of people have offered arguments showing that several of the defects that Miq first pointed out, requiring nudges from outside the machinery of the story, may not be defects at all. I'm particularly taken with Peter Ellis' suggestion that Granny-in-the-blood isn't Borrowing, but more like the sorceror storing his soul in an egg. Never picked up on that before, and I'm always pleased when the Witches connect so nicely with real-world folklore.

If I might summarise the argument thus far as I see it, MiQ is saying 'The ending of CJ is weak because the mechanism whereby Granny defeats the vampires isn't consistent with our knowledge of the DW' and you're saying 'True, but I'd rather have a weak ending than a different story'. So ultimately you're both saying the same thing ('tis ever thus).

Pretty much. But since I'm disposed to like the book, I'd especially rather see plausible defenses that help strengthen the mechanism of the ending. I haven't been much help in supplying them, but I think several of the other posts address some of the major issues very nicely.


Date: 05 Apr 2001
From: Victoria Martin

That's one of the nice things about abp. On various occasions people have been able to clear up things I hadn't understood (usually because I'd failed to notice some crucial bit of evidence. One thing that strikes me whenever I re-read one of Pterry's books is how much information gets packed into apparently throwaway lines, so I almost always find something new, no matter how often I've read a book before).


Date: 03 Apr 2001
From: Bookmobot

Suddenly they're allergic to garlic and unable to fly. Suddenly they're craving tea and hurt by holy symbols. What is the logic at work here?

Methinks the logic is that when they become like unto Granny, they are also forced into her idea of what a vampire is, hence their reassumption of traditional vampiric weaknesses. The traits that they are suddenly showing are a combination of the vampiric and the , er, Weatherwaxian, just as the traits that Granny would exhibit if she were successfully vampirized. Vampires are vulnerable to garlic; Granny likes tea, vampires have a weakness to holy symbols; Granny can't harm children. And it is most definitely canon that Granny can't fly very well.

I don't know about some of the cases you mentioned, but when Sauron invested part of himself in the Ring, he was considerably weakened, not strengthened, by the process. Ipslore the Red moved into the staff, sure, but only by abandoning his own body completely (and permanently).

And Granny was significantly weakened by whatever she did to the vampires, as evidenced by the segments of the book starring her and Mightily Oats. When the final showdown between Granny and the Magpyrs occurs, she doesn't really do much. All of her attacks on the vampires are psychological in nature, based upon her foreknowledge of how they would act under the influence of her blood.She mainly sits, stirs some tea, and talks.


Date: 04 Apr 2001
From: Yannick Larvor

Why didn't Black Aliss simply put herself into the body of one of the two kids?

Ah, but was Black Aliss less morally-upright than Granny? CJ hints that maybe what "they" say about Black Aliss may be a tad inexact.

And why hasn't she done this before?

Maybe she's getting more powerful/knowledgeable/both. Maybe she couldn't then, and now she can. Maybe it has to be her blood, which wouldn't have helped much in the cases you mention.

As for Nanny, Magrat and Lily, I expect they don't know everything Granny knows, and conversely.


From: Jonathan Ellis

CJ hints that maybe what "they" say about Black Aliss may be a tad inexact.

Assuming, of course, that Black Aliss and Alison Weatherwax are one and the same: the fact that Black Aliss's surname is named elsewhere as Demurrage and not Weatherwax suggests, in fact, that they are not the same. Also, the fate of Black Aliss is known (i.e. she's known to be dead), whereas the fate of Alison Weatherwax is clearly stated as being NOT yet known.


From: Stuart Ballard

And why hasn't she done this before?

Well, here are a couple of thoughts...

If you put your soul into, I don't know, a brick in the tower wall, but your body is splattered all over the floor, what use is your soul? Admittedly Granny's soul could probably go off and borrow something or someone else to live in, but I can't see her going for that. So it's either certain death splattered all over the floor or a fascinating future experimenting with the feel of mortar and bits of moss growing in you.

In L&L I suspect the same logic applies when your body has been chopped into pieces by swords, etc.

It seems to me that even if it isn't borrowing, there are important parallels. Borrowing allows you to go off flying with the geese, but it doesn't help you if someone comes into your bedroom while you're doing it and sticks a knife through your heart. With any kind of trick which involves removing yourself from your body, you probably have to be very careful that your body will be safe in the interim.

In this case, Granny knew that the vampires didn't want to actually damage her body, just gain some influence over it. So by temporarily relinquishing direct control over her body and moving into the blood (I like someone else's theory that doing so made it a battle between equals rather than a battle against an enemy within) she isn't actually risking not having a body to come back to. Once she's finished with the blood-on-blood fight against vampirism, she returns to her body (much like a return from borrowing) with the vampirism pre-vanquished. She's just extremely weak from normal, non-supernatural loss of blood.

How's that?


Date: 05 Apr 2001
From: Terry Pratchett

But I find it hard to believe that Terry would not only stoop to such a cheap trick ("Stargate SG-1", anybody?), but also spring it on us without warning after six books featuring Granny as main character.

Miq, this is even more off the bottom of the deck than your usual approach. The ability to 'put your Self elsewhere' has a lengthy magical lineage in just about every culture; the powerful magician can only be killed once their 'life' is found, and so on. The fact that it's been used in popular culture doesn't suddenly devalue it.

It is also sufficiently close to Borrowing for it to be a development of Granny's increasing powers. In fact Borrowing looks like a less dramatic but very similar technique. Even within CJ, it's hardly without 'warning'.

Then let's consider how 'weathwaxing' works with vampires. They have certain natural weaknesses and aversions which they can overcome with training (just as humans can.) All Granny has to introduce into their minds is something that breaks their concentration; they don't 'become' Granny any more than a human takes on personality of the vampire. They just pick up a package of Granny's traits and habits which are at odds with their own. They're not used to being attacked, they can't deal with it, they become confused... I don't think this is hard to understand.


From: Sockii

Someone wrote how Granny respected Agnes and was willing to let Agnes learn from her (the only way Granny, the most respected leader the witches didn't have, is willing to mentor an apprentice). Someone speculated that Agnes and Granny had some similarities.

And now I'm wondering if Agnes has even more similarities with Granny (i.e. was she Weatherwaxed when she was bit by Vlad, or would she naturally have been able to resist being Vamped). Consider the 'weatherwaxing' as described:

Then let's consider how 'weathwaxing' works with vampires.

The text seems to indicate that the Weatherwax effect had entered Agnes' bloodstream, and thereby being Agnes' salvation from being Vamped:

Waves of black heat broke over Agnes, and then there was a pit, and a fall into hot, suffocating darkness.
She felt the desire. It was tugging her forward like a current. Well, she thought dreamily, at least I'll lose some weight...
The hunger filled her now, accelerating her. And then there was light, behind her, shining past her.
But it was the shadow of words, the effect they leave on the mind after they have been said, and she felt her own voice rushing in to fill the shape that had appeared there. I...can't...be...having...with...this...
(p351)

(The hunger being Vamp and the light being Weatherwax.) The words chosen by Agnes to fill the shape are reminiscent of Granny more than Agnes - unless Agnes is more like Granny than is obvious. In her weakenned state, Agnes would be more vulnerable to mindgames than usual, so Granny's influence could have repurcussions even after Weatherwaxing wore off:

You're sharper...edgier...nastier.
"Maybe it's about time I was, then."
(p360)

Another interpretation would be that the pit and darkness is symbolic of the vampire's tradition of listening to their blood, rather than thinking with their honed mind. The Weatherwax effect on a fresh recruit could be to stop the 'listen to your blood' tradition from taking hold, so the recruit is able to ignore the craving hunger from their blood.

She didn't even like the idea of rare steak.
(p360)

So Agnes is not Vamped, and her 'normal' personality takes over. But her normal personality is now "sharper...edgier...nastier", more like Granny in fact. Is the personality change a remnant of the intial influence Granny, or is it an instant maturation/undead reaction (see RM for details) upon being bit?

This second interpretation leads to the idea that Granny is more powerful than Lady Margolotta, a female of strong mind and self-control who nevertheless has to find a substitute for human blood, rather than deny the hunger. Otto Chriek was finally able to control his craving, but it was still there. Agnes, however, felt "bloodsucking...no". Is this due to the Weatherwax effect, or a natural Agnes defence? If it was Weatherwax, it means that Granny is very powerful. If it is a natural Agnes defence, then Agnes has the potential to be much more powerful than Granny ('cos of how Granny is 100% perseverance with no natural talent and Agnes has more natural abilities than Granny, and is learning from Granny, and do you want to bet that Agnes is a slow learner?).

Or maybe there are different species of vampires on DW, classed by their behaviour towards "meat". I wouldn't be surprised.


From: Joerg Ruedenauer

p360
You're sharper...edgier...nastier.
" Maybe it's about time I was, then."

But this quote is from a time where Agnes is still weatherwaxed. Do you mean that Agnes could continue to be sharper later because she wants to or because the effects are permanent?

The Weatherwax effect on a fresh recruit could be to stop the 'listen to your blood' tradition from taking hold, so the recruit is able to ignore the craving hunger from their blood.

But the weatherwaxing is much stronger if it doesn't stop the listening. After all, it's the whole point that the vampires, who always listen to their blood, are now weakened by that because Granny's in it. Remember the count: 'So let's stick to what we do know, shall we? Obey our blood...' - which is exactly the wrong thing in this case.

Is the personality change a remnant of the intial influence Granny, or is it an instant maturation/undead reaction (see RM for details) upon being bit?

It's certainly an effect of the weatherwaxing, since Agnes isn't undead (more below).

Agnes, however, felt "bloodsucking...no". Is this due to the Weatherwax effect, or a natural Agnes defence?

Neither the one nor the other. Agnes isn't a vampire, so she doesn't have a craving to fight (unlike Lady Margolotta e.g.).

When Vlad bit Agnes, he put some of his blood into her (I think that's the way it works). That would normally have turned her into a vampire, but Vlad's blood was already weatherwaxed. So the vampirizing component was much weaker and partly replaced by a weatherwaxing component. It wasn't strong enough any more to vampirize Agnes, so she remained human and alive (and slightly weatherwaxed).

When Granny was bitten, though, the blood that was put into her was purely vampire, so she had to fight much harder against it - I don't think Agnes would have managed it.


From: Sockii

But this quote is from a time where Agnes is still weatherwaxed. Do you mean that Agnes could continue to be sharper later because she wants to or because the effects are permanent?

I'm saying that she will be sharper because she wants to. Afer experiencing being sharper, etc., Agnes reckons that being so is A Good Thing(tm). If she isn't an undead, and the Weatherwax effect wears off, that means she will duplicate the behaviour herself. But we won't know for certain until the next Witches book =)

[...listening to the Weatherwaxed blood...]
It's certainly an effect of the weatherwaxing, since Agnes isn't undead (more below).

This raises a moderately interesting question. Agnes has been Weatherwaxed (can consider her as subsidary of Granny?). That leaves Nanny (Mother) and Magrat (Mother and Maiden). So in effect there are only 3 witches confronting the Count.


From: Sylvan Migdal

So in effect there are only 3 witches confronting the Count.

I'm not sure what you're getting at. A fully-owned subsidiary of the Granny Corporation? In any case, Perdita doesn't seem to have been affected, so it's still four. But Granny isn't controlling anyone, just sabotaging them.


Date: 06 Apr 2001
From: Christine Leston

I thought the group dynamic was now Nanny (Crone), Magrat (Mother) and Agnes (Maiden), with Granny an unknown quantity outside the main group.


Date: 07 Apr 2001
From: Jennifer en Reinier Sjouw

When Vlad bit Agnes, he put some of his blood into her (I think that's the way it works). That would normally have turned her into a vampire, but Vlad's blood was already weatherwaxed.

To me, this argument does not make sense, for several reasons:

1. It suggests a vampire's fangs are a bit like a cobra's fangs, except that instead of poison, they squirt blood. That idea shortens the suspension of disbelief considerably for me[1]. I always considered the contagiousness of vampires to be something like rabies - saliva of a rabid dog in the bite infects the person who was bitten with rabies.

2. I always thought vampires drank blood, instead of donating it.

Botherbotherbother. I suddenly lost track of how this part of the story works. Granny's blood get drunk by vampire. This does not turn her into a vampire because she is hiding in her own blood. As she is "not at home" the normal virus/bacterium that turns people into vampires cannot find her, gives up and goes home. Part of her blood is drunk by the vampire, so her personality is a fifth columnist inside the vampire. She does her job there, the vampire panics, switches back to "old values", such as "light kills" etc. Then Agnes gets bitten. How on earth Grannyness is transferred, well, b----red if I know. Has the virus picked up Granny-habits? But then we have the problem of why the vampires suddenly are vulnerable to the old problems again?

[1] Suspension of disbelief - A book with a story that takes place in a setting that does not conform to "the normal world" as the reader knows it, requires the reader to delay disbelieving the story until it is finished. If, at the end of the every sentence, the reader was to think "Rubbish. That cannot be true", there would be very little enjoyment in the reading of the book. YMMV, but I think we could have an interesting conversation if it does. Yet, with SF&F stories, disbelief, the realisation that the situation in which is described cannot physically take place, has to return to the reader at the end of the book, if the reader has to continue to function in our society.

An acceptable SF&F book has enough internal consistency to suspend the disbelief at least until the moment the reader has just finished the last page. A good SF&F book can take things a step futher, and will have the reader come back to the book to repeat the experience. A badly written or internally inconsistent book[2] will have hatstand on which the reader left the disbelief fall over. The disbelief will hit the reader on the head, well before the reader has finished the book. Sometimes the reader can make herself (or himself) pick things up again. But it is a bad sign if the hatstand collapses even just once.

[2] Is a book which is internally inconsistent "badly written"? I don't know. If it is an entertaining read? Can it be an entertaining read if there are internal inconsistencies? Do they necessarily bring the hatstand down? Most probably not. I think this would be the type of discussion that goes "what is 'Art'" (if the answer is not supposed to be "Art is a candlestick maker"). In other words, people have to decide for themselves what they regard to be "badly written". Whether or not a story is internally inconsistent can probably be determined objectively, but whether or not that brings the hatstand crashing down is a matter of how the reader has suspended her hatstand.


From: MikeXXXX

From my POV you're heading down an entirely too literal pathway. Vampires drink blood - it's a nourishment thing. The act of biting opens up the pathway for the spiritual and soul affecting aspects which is where all the action is regarding 'vampiring' and 'weatherwaxing' and nothing to do with what body fluids pass in what direction.

Compare this to werewolves where one scratch will get you. In the hollywood movies the vampire had to come back to drink three times and on the third time the young woman in the flighty nighty would die, get buried and reawaken.

In CJ the physical is a necessary but don't be mislead.

It's all about soul (cue Billy Joel)

CJ is a fascinating book as the 'blood' and 'spirit' clues are planted all the way through. You get to see the story from many aspects too. there's Oats, Granny, Agnes and Magrat.

I was Oats (I'm going out now)


Date: 08 Apr 2001
From: Jennifer en Reinier Sjouw

Compare this to werewolves where one scratch will get you.

errrr... yes, like rabid saliva? :-)

In the hollywood movies the vampire had to come back to drink three times and on the third time the young woman in the flighty nighty would die, get buried and reawaken.

Depends on the film, but yes.

It's all about soul

I think the problem is that I don't know which rules to apply. What Joerg wrote was a mismatch for "the rules as I knew them".


From: Miq

Is a book which is internally inconsistent "badly written"? I don't know.

How about if the inconsistencies are deliberate? 'Scuse me while I meander slightly off-topic here.

I spent a fair while thinking about that quite recently, when I read Kazuo Ishiguro's 'The Unconsoled'. To summarise: it's a first-person narration by a world-famous concert pianist who appears, at first, to have lost his memory. The story grows steadily more surreal until you realise that he's lost a lot more than that.

There are things that look like vast glaring continuity errors, but for the fact that they're clearly deliberate. There are conflicting accounts of the same scene, from the same narrator. There are detailed descriptions of scenes that he couldn't possibly know about, there are scenes that are just plain preposterous. There's one character whom he meets for the first time, after arriving in a strange town, who turns out to be his wife.

In this case, the point of the book seems to be how the narrator has lost control of his life, and with it has gone his sense of reality. To use your metaphor, trying to follow the story is a bit like having someone repeatedly beating you over the head with the hatstand. But I'd still call it a good book.


From: Stephen Tempest

I always thought vampires drank blood, instead of donating it.

In Anne "Interview with the Vampire" Rice's books, and the White-Wolf Vampire:the Masquerade game, and in at least one film adaptation of Dracula that I've seen, and probably other sources...

...the way for the victim to become a vampire in turn was if the original vampire cut himself and allowed the victim to drink some of his own blood.

If you want a mechanistic explanation, you can say that the vampiric force is transmitted through the blood. Symbolically, the fact that the new vampire has to drink the old vampire's blood turns them from passive victim into willingly participating predator. Practically, if everybody bitten by a vampire turned into an immortal undead monster, the world would be awash with vampires inside a couple of generations, so there has to be more to it than just the bite.


From: Miq

...the way for the victim to become a vampire in turn was if the original vampire cut himself and allowed the victim to drink some of his own blood.

Same in 'Buffy'. And the same thing happens in the book of 'Dracula', though it's not clear there whether this is a necessary part of the process (we have no way of knowing whether the Count has gone through this routine with Lucy).

Symbolically, the fact that the new vampire has to drink the old vampire's blood turns them from passive victim into willingly participating predator.

Exactly - this is where the 'consent' comes in. If you don't want to become a vampire, it should be possible to choke yourself to death instead.


From: Miq

Miq, this is even more off the bottom of the deck than your usual approach.

Why, thank you.

I'm just trying to explain why I don't like CJ. I know mine is probably a minority opinion, but I also know that I'm not alone in it. Various people have tried to explain why the features that I perceive as faults are, in fact, not faults, but I find all the explanations advanced so far - including, I'm afraid, this one - profoundly unconvincing.

You clearly find my reservations equally unconvincing. Fair enough. I'm not asking anyone to agree with me, but anyone who wants to change my mind will have to do better.


Date: 02 Apr 2001
From: Bookmobot

Feeding = inviting? Isn't that kinda stretching things? Do you invite a cow into yourself when you drink milk?

My reading of the whole Weatherwaxing phenomenon has been much less focused on Granny's Borrowing abilities and more on her skills as a manipulator of stories.

It goes like this: the vampires (sorry, vampyres) have removed many of their traditional weaknesses by ceasing to believe in their power over them, therefore rejecting part of the Story of Vampirism (perhaps Chapter 2: the Rules) However, they have wholeheartedly maintained certain other aspects of the story as true: while they cannot be harmed by garlic, they can still fly, read minds, place others under hypnotic control, etc. As part of this, they still believe that blood holds power, as sustenance, as a procreative agent and as a means of exerting control. Vampiric blood, more specifically, when fed to another, transforms him or her mentally and physically into something like the donor, and causes them to be subservient.

Along comes Granny, unable to attack the vampyres because they have removed their weaknesses. She knows her stories, however, and can see that the vampyres are still half-enmeshed in theirs, and so she hatches a desperate plan to use this to turn one of the bastards' greatest strengths against them. The story goes that blood has power, and here the vampyres are putting Granny's blood into themselves. She doesn't need to Borrow to ensure that they are Weatherwaxed, she just has to turn the story around. Something of her is in them, and is making them like her. It's obviously tough to twist a narrative so severely, and Granny still has to fight off a bad case of Vampirism, but the way I see it, as soon as they started messing around with stories the vampyres didn't have a chance.

On a side note: there've been many mentions of Granny's seeming omnipotence in Maskerade. Frankly, I'm having a hard time seeing it. IMO, the level of opposition was just lower. I mean: Lily Weatherwax, Faerie Queen= tough. But Salzella and Walter Plinge?


Date: 02 Apr 2001
From: Eric Jarvis

wasn't her opposition mostly Nanny Ogg?...

and her publisher

what tougher opposition than a publisher could an author possibly dream up?


Date: 18 Apr 2001
From: Clotilde

Her opposition in Maskerade, as I saw it, was mostly The Future (or the Leaked In version of the Phantom) which she was trying to keep from happening. The big thing at the beginning and the reason She and Nanny really left for AM was to stop what they'd Seen in a Precog session from occurring. The characters involved in bringing abou the Tragedy were mostly somewhat incidental.


Date: 19 Apr 2001
From: Quantum Moth

wasn't her opposition mostly Nanny Ogg?...

Nanny in Maskerade is often setting obstacles in her path, but it's more to bait her to rise to the challenge... any challenge. See the "got her out just in time" thought she has when observing Granny on the coach.

The big thing at the beginning and the reason She and Nanny really left for AM was to stop what they'd Seen in a Precog session from occurring.

Which precog is this? All the tea leaves show is the mask of the Phantom. Granny's real revelation about the impending tragedy occurs when she and Nanny attend their first Operation. The rest is all... well, very vague to say the least. Okay, so they know there's some kind of awful presence in the Opera House, but it definitely doesn't feel like that is the fate Grannyis trying to fight.

I'd say Granny's biggest opponent in Maskerade is Granny Weatherwax. Just as it is in Carpe Jugulum and, to a lesser exent, Lords and Ladies.


Date: 26 Apr 2001
From: clotilde

Which precog is this?

When Nanny goes to Granny's house and has her look at the tea leaves, Granny exclaims something like "They're going to kill him! They're going to hunt him down and beat him to death!."

This is what actually happens in Phantom here in our stories. - I'll have to get out the book to see if is what actually happens in the book but I know that in many versions of the Phantom of the Opera, the final chase scene culminating in the mob beating him to death brings about the end of the Phantom.

AND, if Granny had NOT replaced Walter with Greebo (as human) then that's exactly what the mob would have done to him.

I'd say Granny's biggest opponent in Maskerade is Granny Weatherwax. Just as it is in Carpe Jugulum and, to a lesser exent, Lords and Ladies.

As always.

As for Nanny being her opponent. Nanny only plays tricks on Granny. Little practical jokes to get her back for the occassional highhanded way she treats Nanny - and her money.


Date: 26 Apr 2001
From: Paul Andinach

in many versions of the Phantom of the Opera, the final chase scene culminating in the mob beating him to death brings about the end of the Phantom.

The final-chase-scene-culminating-in-the-mob-beating-him-to-death dates back to the famous first film version starring Lon Chaney (this is noted in the Unseen University Quizbook, but not, apparently, in the APF).

In the book, the Phantom slips away before the mob arrives. (And dies later, somewhere else, of some other cause; but I can't remember precisely where or of what.)


Date: 27 Apr 2001
From: pia

IIRC Phantom (whose name is Erik btw) dies in his vault and the actual reason is never given. He is already dying when he visits the Persian and tells what happened to Christine and Raoul. I always assumed Phantom had a heart condition.


Date: 02 Apr 2001
From: Joerg Ruedenauer

that's a major weakness in M!M. Nanny starts to look distinctly surplus to requirements. But I don't see that CJ does anything to reverse that. And in M!M at least she's funny.

I don't see it like that in M!M. There are still some things (explicitly mentioned) where Nanny is better, like comforting Mrs Plinge, coming back-stage without frightening everyone, talking to Walter... though she's inexplicably slow at understanding Walter's state of mind. On the whole, I'd still say they work as a team, even if Granny is even more the leader than before.

Remember also that Granny needs her friend for certain things that would be difficult without Nanny. A small one is the scene before they enter the Opera the first time; a big one is how Nanny gets Granny out of her dangerous mood at the start of the book.

It's much worse in CJ, where the other witches don't really accomplish anything besides getting Granny back and even make her task much harder because they go to Uberwald.

she's unable to stand without help, but do you doubt that if Oats weren't there, she'd find a way to cope without him?

Well... She surely would have died without his fire one time. She could have taken someone else with her, I suppose, but with great difficulties.

Look at what she actually does in CJ. The vampires try to put their nature into her blood. Now, according to the vampires themselves - who should, you'd think, know about this - this is an infallible process.

The vampires are obviously wrong. They just never encountered someone who could overcome it.

But Granny does get a saving throw, apparently. Because she's put herself into her blood first. And how does she do that? By 'borrowing'.

I think it's not really borrowing, only something a bit similar. I can accept that, but I've got more difficulties with the way it affects the vampires. On the one hand, her self get's into them (and seems to stay there even after she's woken up and walking around) - that's the 'weatherwaxing', causes them to crave for tea etc. On the other hand, she can somehow overcome their trained defences against holy water and similar and she can cripple their ability to fly. That's all not very convincing...

Granny claims that the count 'invited' her in - when exactly did he do that? He put something into her blood, not his own.

He 'invited' her in when he drank her blood, that contained her self.

Then there's the way the whole story is put together. There are many different strands here - the vampires, the Feegles' arrival, Granny's crisis of faith, Oats's arrival, the phoenix - all of which just happen to occur at the same time. Why? The only triggering event is the naming of baby E.M.N.S., but that doesn't explain why the vampires chose that moment to drive out the Feegles, nor why the phoenix just happened to arrive then, and Brother Perdore just happened to break his leg. There are too many unrelated strands coming together.

I can accept Brother Perdore as a coincidence. The phoenix was wounded by the vampires when they travelled to Lancre, and it doesn't seem too unreasonable to me that it took refuge in Lancre after that. I can't find a reason for the Feegles, too.

When I first read CJ, I looked forward to seeing how the witches would cope without Granny - they didn't. I looked forward to seeing what the centaurs were doing - nothing. I wanted to know why the phoenix was following the vampires around - it wasn't. It sets up some very interesting questions, then fails to answer them, falling back on the same ol' 'invincible Granny' solution to the mess.

Ok, but it's not so bad with the second reading. The centaurs are probably just animals, and the phoenix is also explained (I never thought it was following the vampires).

The book has two very different parts for me: the first one is excellent and lasts until Granny returns. The second one is very weak and the only parts I really liked are the discussions between Granny and Oats.


From: Daibhid Chiennedelh

I think it's not really borrowing, only something a bit similar.

I thought the book actually said that, comparing it with the way witchdoctors put their "essence" in rocks and stuff.


From: Sylvan Migdal

I think it's not really borrowing, only something a bit similar. I can accept that, but I've got more difficulties with the way it affects the vampires. .

It's all an natural part of the weatherwaxing. Vampirism turns people into vampires, so weatherwaxing turns people into weatherwaxes. What does this entail?
1. Tea.
2. Won't back down.
3. Won't harm a child.
4. Bluffing with a weak hand.
5. Vampires ought to play by the rules.

She doesn't overcome their defenses, she undermines them. This is made particularly easy because the vampires are nice enough to dig the tunnel for her.

I can't find a reason for the Feegles, too.

The Magpyrs (well, mostly Lacrimosa) have apparently begun some sort of genocide against magical creatures, presumably because they are unable control them. Thus, the Centaurs, the NMF, and the Phoenix (Phoenices?) are leaving Uberwald in every direction, one of which is Lancre. That's my reading, at least.


Date: 03 Apr 2001
From: Joerg Ruedenauer

1. Tea.
2. Won't back down.
3. Won't harm a child.
4. Bluffing with a weak hand.
5. Vampires ought to play by the rules.

1 - 4 are clear. But 5 is weak. Either they are like weatherwaxes - that's not playing by the rules. Or they are like vampires - that's e.g. craving for blood, not tea. In other words: if the weatherwaxing gets the vampires to be like Granny is, then the holy water should not hurt them. If it gets them to be like Granny thinks vampires ought to be, they should not crave for tea or bluff with a weak hand. Besides, vampires ought to be able to fly even if they are playing by the rules.

The Magpyrs (well, mostly Lacrimosa) have apparently begun some sort of genocide against magical creatures, presumably because they are unable control them. Thus, the Centaurs, the NMF, and the Phoenix (Phoenices?) are leaving Uberwald in every direction, one of which is Lancre. That's my reading, at least.

Yes, that's how I see it, too. The question is why they begun it just at that time, and didn't wait until their power in Lancre was established (or did it three weeks / months / years earlier).


Date: 02 Apr 2001
From: Morgan Lewis

that's a major weakness in M!M. Nanny starts to look distinctly surplus to requirements.

Hm. Who talks to Mrs. Plinge? Not Granny. While it can be argued that Granny would have figured things out without Nanny's investigation, she wouldn't have been able to get as clear a confirmation so quickly. Plus, Nanny was the impetus to bring Granny to A-M in the first place, and to find a third witch. I think the opening of M!M shows how essential Nanny really is -- she's the only one who really watches out for Granny's emotional state.

But I don't see that CJ does anything to reverse that. And in M!M at least she's funny.

Again, I think Nanny handles a lot more than you're giving her credit for. For one thing, she's the one that the other witches are relying on. Sure, Granny's really behind the scenes working her magic with the blood, but it's Nanny who kept them alive and (relatively) free until the blood took effect. That's not a minor accomplishment.

she's unable to stand without help, but do you doubt that if Oats weren't there, she'd find a way to cope without him?

Whether or not she could have theoretically made it on her own doesn't change the fact that she didn't. She chose to rely on somebody else. She could have just looked at Oats's fake flop and said, "Get up, you idiot." Instead she chose to take it as Oats offered it; a way to rely on somebody while leaving her pride intact.

Look at what she actually does in CJ. The vampires try to put their nature into her blood. Now, according to the vampires themselves - who should, you'd think, know about this - this is an infallible process.

Why would I think that? It's established at the very beginning that vampires are stupid. They know very little about their own abilities, it seems to me. Magpyr concludes that the anathema to sunlight, holy symbols, etc., is all psychosomatic -- but still can't enter a person's domain without being invited. He believes it's the same basic problem, but can't overcome it nevertheless. According to Magpyr himself, who should, if he knows much of anything about his own abilities, know about this, he should be able to enter someone's domain uninvited. And he can't. Therefore, he doesn't know as much as he thinks he does. If he's wrong about his weaknesses, he can be just as wrong about his strengths.

We had quite a detailed description of 'borrowing' way back in ER. It involves 'riding' the subject's mind, like a horse. How this could work without the subject having a mind to ride is not explained, nor even acknowledged as a question.

ER also establishes early on that witch magic and wizard magic are fundamentally different, and that Granny can't light a fire by magic through witchcraft, or do other wizardly spells. But towards the end of the book, when she's dueling with Cutangle, she does wizardly spells through witchcraft. We learn, almost as soon as we meet Granny, that what she thinks she knows about witchcraft's limitations aren't the real limitations. In L&L, we see that Granny has learned this lesson well by blowing up Nanny's hat -- something that should have been impossible had her original assumptions in ER been correct. Granny's learning she was wrong about some things. Why not Borrowing?

In ER, Esk quasi-borrows UU. Granted, UU is probably a few notches above the normal building, but it is still definitely several notches below most living things. In WS, Magrat -- Magrat, mind you, not known for being the most potent of witches -- causes a long-dead door to burst into life. Right after Granny says it's impossible, that it's too far gone. In L&L, Granny rides a hive-mind, where the individual bees don't have individual minds at all. What Granny thought was possible in ER -- and it was, after all, Granny's explanation of Borrowing -- has been consistently proven wrong.

Nor is there any explanation of why Granny-in-the-blood is stronger than vampires-in-the-blood, when Granny-in-the-head isn't.

Yes there is. The vampires 'listen' to their blood. They treat it as a part of them, even though the 'donors' may disagree. They trust it, they've brought their entire culture up around it. They've been playing mind games long enough to not fall prey to someone playing mind games on them, but blood games is something different. Why is an attack from behind stronger than one from the front? You're expecting the one from the front. Granny-in-the-blood was stronger because it was an unexpected maneuver. You can't defend against what you can't anticipate.

Granny claims that the count 'invited' her in - when exactly did he do that? He put something into her blood, not his own.

Not so. They all drank from Granny's blood -- this was pointed out pretty clearly, and the vampires even explained why (so Granny would be subordinate to all.) By drinking her blood, they invited her in -- dragging somebody into your house forcefully may not be the most polite of invitations, but it certainly qualifies.

Then there's the way the whole story is put together. There are many different strands here - the vampires, the Feegles' arrival, Granny's crisis of faith, Oats's arrival, the phoenix - all of which just happen to occur at the same time. Why? The only triggering event is the naming of baby E.M.N.S., but that doesn't explain why the vampires chose that moment to drive out the Feegles

The Feegles are from Uberwald, travelling by foot, to Lancre. And these are small feet. I got the impression the driving out happened a while back, most likely before the Magpyrs even received Verence's invitation. The Nac Mac Feegle have just been travelling for some time.

nor why the phoenix just happened to arrive then,

For starters, the way Granny explains the phoenix makes it seem like the phoenix arrives when it is needed. Granted, this is a bit of a deus-ex machina, but it's not unexplained. Additionally, Lacrimosa had attacked the phoenix just before they entered Lancre, which is at least part of why it crash landed there.

and Brother Perdore just happened to break his leg. There are too many unrelated strands coming together.

That one I'll give you, but it's a trivial one. It could just as easily have been Verence sending off for some random priest and Oats being the random priest he got, without any expectation of Brother Perdore at all. Brother Perdore serves no part in any other story, IIRC; he was just made up for this one. The reason? Well, I can't read Terry's mind (except those bits he writes down, of course), but it seems to me that by having an expected priest being replaced by a different one, he sets up part of the conflict between Oats and the established practices (i.e., Nanny and Granny.) Brother Perdore didn't break his leg to get Oats there; Brother Perdore broke his leg to make Oats more interesting.

When I first read CJ, I looked forward to seeing how the witches would cope without Granny - they didn't.

I'll agree; it would have been interesting to see the witches cope without her. But I found it interesting to see how she handled the problem as well.


Date: 03 Apr 2001
From: Joerg Ruedenauer

Again, I think Nanny handles a lot more than you're giving her credit for. For one thing, she's the one that the other witches are relying on. Sure, Granny's really behind the scenes working her magic with the blood, but it's Nanny who kept them alive and (relatively) free until the blood took effect. That's not a minor accomplishment.

You mean, she somehow persuaded the count to let them run away? Vlad says to Agnes, his father could kill Nanny and Magrat any time he wanted, and I believe that. They just weren't interesting enough and were no threat either.

The Feegles are from Uberwald, travelling by foot, to Lancre. And these are small feet. I got the impression the driving out happened a while back, most likely before the Magpyrs even received Verence's invitation. The Nac Mac Feegle have just been travelling for some time.

It's not that far. Granny makes it in one night, travelling quite slowly and with pauses.


Date: 04 Apr 2001
From: Carol Hague

But as Morgan points out, the Feegle are only tiny. While they're very strong in proportion to their size, it's still going to take them longer to cover the distance than it would take a human. Plus, they need to spend time getting food, which would slow them down - maybe the Feegle are like shrews, who have to eat several times their own bodyweight a day just to survive?


Date: 10 Apr 2001
From: Axel Kielhorn

The Feegle can be quite fast when moving cows and attacking the fox didn't slow them down (much) when rescuing Verence.


Date: 12 Apr 2001
From: Josef and Guilaine Moffett

Perhaps I can add a cross reference to another book by Terry & Terry Pratchet - Carpet People, with side glances at the truckers, diggers and wings set.

In carpet people they manage to have days and days between attacks of Fray, and fray is in a straight line (note the reference by Pismire to that not being a good sign for Ware). This tends to imply (and is mentioned explicitly in the prologue to truckers as well) that these smaller type people live faster than we do, (note: Truckers - again - they have only three minutes to get on the truck, and "to a nome thats more than half an hour" (forgive the missing page and book reference, I don;t have it infront of me, its the corgi one, and its pretty much within the first ten pages).

SO (my point) is that they may move pretty fast if the same "science" were to be applied.


Date: 27 Mar 2001
From: Dr Nuncheon

That ending always disappointed me too. It seems to me to go against Granny's oft-stated dislike of forcing people into stories.

Sure, that's what she says. On the other hand, Granny also has a tremendous dislike of being wrong...and she as much as said that Agnes should be a witch. If she runs off to be a singer, then Granny was wrong...and that'll mess up her headology something fierce.


From: Richard Eney

WS was all about the Story imposed by a certain well-known real-world playwright who made it imperative, by Narrative Causality, that Tomjon be crowned king on his triumphant return to Lancre. Granny (with some assistance) bucked that trend and put Verence on the throne instead, even though he wasn't the real heir.

Side issue: Verence was every bit as much the real heir as Tomjon, in a primogeniture system of male inheritance. They had the same father, whoever he was.

And then comes Maskerade. Story set up very early; Agnes is "destined" to be a witch. She's felt their interest from the start. She instead goes away to try to make her own way in life - something which Granny should be all in favor of. And yet Granny engineers her to return home with her tail behind her legs to fill her pre-destined role (and don't tell me Granny didn't engineer it - she was all but omnipotent in that book). What happened to not wanting to force people into pre-destined stories?

(Don't tell me what not to do - :-) )
My take on it is that Granny is perfectly in character.

First, Granny did not destine Agnes to be a witch. She recognized that Agnes was just the type to be a witch, just as she recognized that Esk was the type to be a witch ("She may never be a wizard but she might have been a witch").

Next, Granny did not force Agnes to come back to Lancre. She told her what was true about the relative advantages of the two careers Agnes was considering. Agnes already knew that she would not make much of a living singing in taverns, and that the world of opera as it was then constituted would not allow her to receive the acclaim she deserved. She also had seen how short a performer's "life" in opera is, and how much even the famous and successful singers had to work at continuing to be noticed - look at Dame Tessitura, well-established and still having to pull fake faints, while Christine only had to stand there and sparkle - and even she was already beginning to develop the jealousy and paranoia of the other performers, criticizing Agnes.

Agnes looked at the possibilities and chose which life she'd prefer in the long run. Granny bent over backwards not to force Agnes into a subordinate role - she even said she wouldn't 'teach' (put Agnes into 'student' role) but she might let her hang around and learn something (by watching Granny work). That is a statement of serious respect from Granny.


Date: 28 Mar 2001
From: Flesh And Wine

Agnes had stayed, she would have been accepted and acclaimed long after Christine had been laughed off the stage. Vocal ability is what really counts in opera. I don't know about Discworld, but there're plenty of non-dramtic vocal works in which appearances don't matter. Think of 'Messiah' for instance.

I was just hoping that somebody would have the gumption to ignore what Granny wants or appoves of in deciding her own future.


From: Joerg Ruedenauer

Vocal ability is what really counts in opera.

Not in the new kind of opera owned by Mr Bucket and made by the Ghost.

I was just hoping that somebody would have the gumption to ignore what Granny wants or appoves of in deciding her own future.

Nanny Ogg did, but of course that was a lot earlier. In some ways, Magrat did, too.


From: Joerg Ruedenauer

A major point is that Agnes herself recognizes that she's the type to be a witch, I think. She realizes that she always doesn't really belong to the groups (specifically the Opera people), that she's an outsider and intelligent enough to notice it - and the stories happening to the other people.

Granny bent over backwards not to force Agnes into a subordinate role - she even said she wouldn't 'teach' (put Agnes into 'student' role) but she might let her hang around and learn something (by watching Granny work). That is a statement of serious respect from Granny.

Respect? Well, could be... I interpreted it as the simple truth; Granny just doesn't like teaching. You could even think she's saying that Agnes isn't worth additional trouble and if she wants to learn, she has to do it on her own (by watching).

Your interpretation is more convincing, though, especially considering how Granny learned ;-)


From: ~arcana

Or, quite simply, Agnes is a witch, whether she is witching in the kitchens of Lancre or in the Grand Opera in Ankh-Morpork. Given her split personality (which seemed to be exacerbated by her experience with the Ghost; is paranoid schizophrenia catching in Discworld?) its probably for the best if she is around where someone like Granny can keep an eye on her.

Plus, they just plain needed a third witch. What I am wondering, is what happens when Nanny Ogg and Agnes sing a duet together?


From: ANNEW

I was hoping that Agnes would stand up to Granny, too. However, I think Pterry already had plans for her to take over from Magrat as the 'young' witch when he included her in Lords and Ladies. (Nanny Ogg:" That little fat quiet one's got a bit of natural talent...") Besides, Granny is an old lady, and telling people what they should do is often the raison d'etre of many old ladies - the ones I know, anyway.


Date: 29 Mar 2001
From: T J Wilkinson

It's especially infuriating when they tell you to do something you were going to do anyway, and in fact had your heart set on so much that refusing to do it will be bad enough that even with the spur of being told to do it you're still going to have to do it.

If anyone followed that, I think that's what happened to Agnes. Just because someone tells you to do something doesn't mean it's a bad idea, even if the teller is Granny. And maybe a sign of maturity is being willing to acknowledge that and do what you were told to anyway.


Date: 31 Mar 2001
From: Richard Eney

I don't think Agnes always wanted to be a witch; Agnes wanted to be cool and admired, and being in the wannabee witches group seemed like the only way at the time. When being a wannabee was shown to be uncool and being a real witch was shown to be a lot tougher and likely to make you not admired, Agnes considered other ways to escape.

I suspect she may have given up on witchcraft for another reason as well. She and the other wannabees had been rejected when they approached the trained witches hoping to be accepted as trainees. A healthy rejected teenager will reject the rejectors, so Agnes turned away from the witches and began thinking of them as just unpleasant, friendless old women instead of people to admire.


And one last answer to the original question ...


Date: 02 May 2001
From: Joe Guy

Because she's always right.....


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