Pratchat 04 Wyrd Sisters

According to LSpace’s Discworld reading order guide (v2.21), Wyrd Sisters is the second book in the Witches Novels thread of Discworld books.

Wyrd Sisters
Terry Pratchett – Wyrd Sisters (1989)
( Witches, #02; Discworld, #06 ) 🎧
Witches are not by nature gregarious, and they certainly don’t have leaders. Granny Weatherwax was the most highly-regarded of the leaders they didn’t have. But even she found that meddling in royal politics was a lot more difficult than certain playwrights would have you believe…
In Wyrd Sisters, the enchanting world of Discworld is turned upside down by 3 meddling witches: Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat Garlick. Their interference in royal politics causes kingdoms to wobble, crowns to topple, knives to flash, and citizens to shudder in fear. Terry Pratchett’s vividly imaginative story takes you on a journey with hunchbacked monarchs, lost crowns, disguised heirs, refueling broomsticks, and frightening thunderstorms, as the three sisters battle the odds to restore the rightful king to the throne. This is the sixth book in the Discworld series.

Note 1: 🎧 The audiobook for Wyrd Sisters is narrated by Celia Imrie, who approaches things very differently to Nigel Planer. The original recording was for books on tape and the recording and mastering style feels quite dated.
Note 2: 🎙 The BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Wyrd Sisters (1995) is 4 x 30min episodes (Jungle Vibe)

Macbeth: Act 1, Scene 1? Not quite;

❝As the cauldron bubbled an eldritch voice shrieked: ‘When shall we three meet again?’ There was a pause. Finally another voice said, in far more ordinary tones: ‘Well, I can do next Tuesday.’❞

Dare we say it, Prachett’s witches have far more depth and character than Shakespeare’s, although there is possibly less hurlyburly.

🔊 Episode 4 – Enter Three Wytches

The Witches
“Witch magic is very different from the wizard magic taught in the Unseen University, and consists largely of finding the right lever that makes everything else work. Witches rarely do any magic, in fact, relying more on common sense, hard work, and a peculiar brand of psychology known as headology. This can be taken very far – a witch’s way of magically setting fire to a log of wood consists of staring at the log until it burns up from pure embarrassment. As a result, it is less energy-intensive, which means that a witch can do more than a technically equally powerful wizard. The same zen-like knowledge that gives them this ability generally discourages them from making a big deal about it, beyond refusing to take wizards seriously. Headology is more commonly used on people, like the placebo effect. Witches unironically acting with melodrama, of which cackling is an early sign, is often an indication of “going to the bad” and becoming a stereotypically wicked witch.” … The role of witches has been defined as “smoothing out life’s humps and bumps”, and “helping people when life’s on the edge”, and they take this obligation seriously. They also never ask for anything in return. There are ways and ways of not asking for anything in return (of course). Nanny Ogg, for instance, insists that part of her job is to take the first pint of every brewing and the first cake of every baking, to prevent occult forces using them against people. Both she and Granny Weatherwax tend to emphasize at every possible opportunity that it is considered lucky to have a witch in your house, and that it would be especially lucky if the witch was well-provided for.
Many witches, especially in the Ramtops, have steadings; geographical areas and populations that they’re responsible for. It is unclear how steadings are defined; Tiffany has the entire Chalk as a steading, while other witches have only two or three villages. Steadings are not necessarily passed on to the apprentice of the witch who previously watched over the steading. There does seem to be a particular geography to it; a discussion of the older witches dying off leads reluctantly to discussing a redrawing of territorial boundaries, which is getting more difficult to handle as there are fewer young girls becoming witches than there are older witches dying.

❝She walked quickly through the darkness with the frank stride of someone who was at least certain that the forest, on this damp and windy night, contained strange and terrible things and she was it.❞

The King’s crown
A small kingdom in the Ramtops, Lancre is homeland to many witches and wizards. Lancre is the largest kingdom on the Ramtops (consisting of a village AND a castle), the representative country that people of other regions think of when they think of the Ramtops. It actually contains a fair amount of land, the problem being that this land is packed so close together that it is almost vertical (the only piece of flat land the people of Lancre have is in a museum).
The Lancre coat of arms shows two bears on a black and gold shield.
Lancre Castle: “built by a master mason who’d heard about Ghormenghast but who didn’t have the budget nor the space, and had to do the best he could.”
In Wyrd Sisters, the kingdom itself is angry about the way the new King is mistreating the land and his subjects.

❝Things like crowns had a troublesome effect on clever folk; it was best to leave all the reigning to the kind of people whose eyebrows met in the middle when they tried to think. In a funny sort of way, they were much better at it.❞

Wyrd Sisters – A Discworld animated movie

❝Granny turned slowly in her seat to look at the audience. They were staring at the performance, their faces rapt. The words washed over them in the breathless air. This was real. This was more real even than reality. This was history. It might not be true, but that had nothing to do with it.
Granny had never had much time for words. They were so insubstantial. Now she wished that she had found the time. Words were indeed insubstantial. They were as soft as water, but they were also as powerful as water and now they were rushing over the audience, eroding the levees of veracity, and carrying away the past.❞

Wyrd Sisters – play adaptation

[1] The Annotated Pratchett File v9.0 – Wyrd Sisters
[2] Wyrd Sisters (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

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