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  #1  
Old 08-23-2005, 11:38 AM
Charlie Tan Charlie Tan is offline
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Discworld Reading club 6: Wyrd Sisters

There are no inconsistencies in the Discworld books; ocassionally, however, there are alternate pasts.
- Terry Pratchett, alt-fan-pratchett

Discworld Reading club 1: The Colour of Magic
Discworld Reading club 2: The Light Fantastic
Discworld Reading club 3: Equal Rites
Discworld Reading club 4: Mort
Discworld Reading Club 5: Sourcery

Itís said that the witches books makes parodies of Shakespeare and while there are influences from the bardís work, I canít really see how the book in it self is a parody on Macbeth.
Anyway.
To hear some people talk about the Discworld, all books should be 87th in Ankh-Morpork and every books deal with the watch: ďI donít like Rincewind, the wizards, the Witches.Ē Myself, I really enjoy the witches books, after initially being turned off by Equal Rites. Granny Weatherwax is a magnificent character, but she canít carry a plot on her own. There has to be balance and I suppose Pratchett thought so too, when he invented Nanny Ogg.
If the Discworld is a distorting, laughing mirror of our own world, Esme Weatherwax needs Gytha Ogg as a mirror to make the read enjoyable. Nanny Ogg has provided us with two favorite songs that has never been heard as music (at least until fans started working on them), her cute wittle pussy cat, Grebo, and a wonderful cookbook (is there really spotted dick?).
Magrat is a wet hen, making her the least interesting of the three and Iím still waiting for the next book with Perdita X. Nitt, since her character shows a lot more promise. Iím not holding my breath though, as it seems Pterry has shelved the Witches indefinitely, apart from Granny showing up in various cameos and supporting parts.

In Wyrd Sisters, Pratchett starts a few things that will become more prominent as the series goes on. The passages about what the land wants and the responsibility of power will lead to him exploring other themes about humanity in later books. This is also the first time (I think) that he has very long passages of parallel action. We leave the witches for 20 or more pages and visit Tomjohn in Ankh-Morpork. This shows that Pratchett is gaining confidence in us readers, knowing that we will follow the plot, even if it seems to be gone for a while. BTW, I think that he shows mastery in later works with this, keeping four or five plots going simultaneously and never losing pace.

Also, even if Iíve read this one four or five times, I still laugh out loud when the witches are trying to guide the players to Lancre. Larks.
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  #2  
Old 08-23-2005, 11:55 AM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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I like the witches books, if for no other reason than that Nanny Ogg reminds me of my grandmother. While I liked the earlier Discworld books, Wyrd Sisters is the first I really enjoyed, in part because of the Shakespeare references (Macbeth and Hamlet), but also because, I think, this is the first Discworld book where the characters are really developed (although he was starting to do this in Mort). From now on, the books are less "Let's put the characters in weird situations and laugh because the situations are so weird" and more "Lets see how this character's personality influences how he or she adapts to events".
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  #3  
Old 08-23-2005, 11:57 AM
smiling bandit smiling bandit is offline
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Like Rincewind, I think Pratchett screwed up Magrat
SPOILER:
and her later career shows it
She had potential early on which was never realized. Rather than show her development into a useful and interesting character, Practhett welched and tossed the whole storyline.
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  #4  
Old 08-23-2005, 12:02 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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The problem with Magrat is just that Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg are such strong characters, they dominate the scenes they're in. Magrat is an interesting character when she's not with them, though, and some of her scenes in later books are good.
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  #5  
Old 08-23-2005, 12:11 PM
Charlie Tan Charlie Tan is offline
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Yes, but Agnes Nitt is a much stronger personality. Being the youngest in the coven means the others will bully her, but she'll bite back and make her own destiny.

I too believe that Pterry painted himself in a corner with Magrat and that's why he had to invent Agnes.
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  #6  
Old 08-23-2005, 03:25 PM
Enterprise Enterprise is offline
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Wyrd Sisters is one of my favorite witches books, and (paraphrased, I read it in German) "When shall we three meet again?" [Ominous thunder] "Well, I'm free next Tuesday." is one of the most quoted lines among my friends. As a great fan of MacBeth, the obvious plot similarities were great fun, especially since I thought Lord Felmet (if that's his name in English too) a much more interesting character than MacBeth for most of the book.

As for Magrat, I didn't like her in this book and was absolutely grateful she got dumped on Verence (who I never liked either) and replaced by Agnes. Then again, however, I don't like AGNES too much...while she is a more interesting and more versatile character than Magrat, I just can't figure out why I should like her. She doesn't have Granny's intellectual appeal, nor Nanny's happy-go-lucky cheerfulness.

Ah, no more rambling. Carry on.
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  #7  
Old 08-23-2005, 03:34 PM
rjung rjung is offline
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As far as i'm concerned, Equal Rites happened in an alternate universe, and Wyrd Sisters is the first Discworld "witches" book. Granny still reads a little "off" from her later characterization in the series (not being able to grok theater, for instance, strikes me as rather odd), but Nanny Ogg got a great start with this one.

In re-reading the book, I was also a bit surprised at Magrat's magical competence; it seems like this aspect of her character got played down a bit in later books. I agree that while she has strong character potential, it often gets smothered under the weight of Granny and Nanny. I think Magrat's done a bit better character-wise later on, though,
SPOILER:
after she becomes Queen of Lancre. Magrat in Lords and Ladies is a far cry from the Magrat here.
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  #8  
Old 08-23-2005, 06:23 PM
Just Some Guy Just Some Guy is offline
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Wyrd Sisters reminds me a lot of Shakespeare in Love; it's good on its own but if you know your Shakespeare it picks up whole other layers of depth. I don't think I need to talk about the MacBeth parallels (unless someone comes into this thread and says "So what's Macbeth about?") but there's sly winks and nods to most of the other plays and using many of Shakespeare's favorite plot elements. I'm disappointed he didn't work in a woman disguising herself as a man in there to just round things out.

Inspired by the bard, I think Pratchett's prose has improved dramatically for Wyrd Sisters. Its almost but not quite up to the standards that will come (and I think Pyramids is a step back, though we'll talk about that later). The writing is sharp and the humor comes from all directions. Pratchett's got the shifts in tone down and managed an interesting climax for a novel which he had been having problems with before (only Mort's ending worked for me before this).

I've got to agree on Magrat; there's potential there but the personality never gelled and now she's a supporting character rather than a main one. One of the things I liked in addition to the traditional maiden, mother, crone triplet the witches also fall into broad conflicting witch archtypes. It sets up a lot of friction that isn't used as well as it could be in the Witches series.

I think Pratchett has backed away from the Witches because they have been literary in style and parody and that's a tough one to continue. He was obviously bursting with ideas for them for a little while but ran out of steam. I suspect we'll revisit them when he decides he wants to pursue another classic book or author.
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  #9  
Old 08-23-2005, 06:57 PM
Anaamika Anaamika is offline
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OK, well, this is a Pratchett reading club, so you need some naysayers, too.

I hate the Witches. Bloody hate them. I have had to deal with nosy, ignorant people like Nanny Ogg and flinch every time she butts into someone else's life. I feel for poor little Margot. And Granny is horrible, too.

Now...is this written with TP's usual flair and skill? Oh yes. I personally don't like them, but that doesn't mean they're not good.
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  #10  
Old 08-23-2005, 07:53 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaamika
I hate the Witches. Bloody hate them. I have had to deal with nosy, ignorant people like Nanny Ogg and flinch every time she butts into someone else's life. I feel for poor little Margot. And Granny is horrible, too.
Yes, but the difference is that Nanny Ogg and Granny really DO know what's best for you.
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  #11  
Old 08-23-2005, 08:09 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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This is the book I start newcomer's to Pratchett on. Everything clicks for the first time. Nanny, Esme, Magrat....everything. I'd go drinking with Nanny Ogg anytime.
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  #12  
Old 08-23-2005, 08:32 PM
jayjay jayjay is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silenus
I'd go drinking with Nanny Ogg anytime.
Not for long, though. She'll pull out her special scumble and have you on the floor in no time. And then, knowing Gytha, she'll take shameless advantage of you.

And you'll LIKE it!
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  #13  
Old 08-23-2005, 08:41 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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We came this close to naming one of our new kittens Greebo, but they are both female.
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  #14  
Old 08-30-2005, 03:42 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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Love it - everything perfect, from the title (look up the different meanings of "wyrd/weird" sometime), to the setting. Lancre is my favourite patch of discworld, even more than A-M.

Magrat makes an interesting addition, Granny and Nanny really get fleshed out. And I love Shakespeare, too. The writing is also miles better than the prevoius ones.

It also makes a great play, by the way.

I love Witches books, although it seems these have been transmuted into the Tiffany Aching YA books, so I'm not sure we'll see any more focused on the Granny-Nanny-Agnes trio.
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  #15  
Old 08-30-2005, 09:03 AM
Anaamika Anaamika is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Amazing
Yes, but the difference is that Nanny Ogg and Granny really DO know what's best for you.
So they say. *grumble grumble*


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  #16  
Old 08-30-2005, 12:47 PM
Clothahump Clothahump is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaamika
So they say. *grumble grumble*



Umm.....I'd be careful about complaining if I were you. One of them will come and look at you.


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  #17  
Old 08-31-2005, 05:17 AM
Small Clanger Small Clanger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Amazing
. . .because of the Shakespeare references (Macbeth and Hamlet)
And Richard III (and others probably) Some of them are a bit mangled

The pay's the thing

The rest was silence

Is this a duck I see behind me

Tomorrow. . . blah. . . and tomorrow. . . blah. . . and tomorrow

There's (I think) a bit of self reference, one of the witches is reading the script for Hewl's Macbeth (Verence?) and says "I see you've got Death in it, always popular". And natch, DEATH does have a walk on part shortly after.
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  #18  
Old 08-31-2005, 04:08 PM
marque elf marque elf is offline
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It was the portrayal of Granny Weatherwax in this book that sold me on the discworld series. Nanny Og is a great character but she can't carry a book by herself. I think that Granny could. Her conflict with her sister and her battle to do good when her natural inclination is otherwise are the stuff of great literature. And I do believe that Discworld, at it's best, is great literature.

For nanny Og, the world is a simple place. This doesn't mean she is simple. She can be very devious and she understands Granny far better than Granny understands herself. Granny doesn't do emotion. Gyttha does. She is the perfect companion if for no other reason that Granny respects her and Granny's opinion of herself would not permit her to do something that Gyttha wouldn't approve of.

Magrat does pale in comparison to the other two witches. I always thought she was at least partially created so Pratchett could poke fun at the New Agers and their half-assed mysticism. She is much younger than the other two and she is the type that would never, ever forget that. Of course, she could be overshadowed by just about anything because she would let herself be dominated. She does much better later in the series.

I love the witches and hope that someday there will be more of them. I also think the Tiffany Aching is great. Since there are only supposed to be 5 books in this series, Pratchett may go back to the witches. I wonder whether he's given up on
Agnes Nitt and sees Tiffany as her replacement. I liked Agnes but I'd lose no sleep if Tiffany replaces her in the witch troika.
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  #19  
Old 08-31-2005, 04:34 PM
rjung rjung is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marque elf
I love the witches and hope that someday there will be more of them. I also think the Tiffany Aching is great. Since there are only supposed to be 5 books in this series, Pratchett may go back to the witches. I wonder whether he's given up on Agnes Nitt and sees Tiffany as her replacement. I liked Agnes but I'd lose no sleep if Tiffany replaces her in the witch troika.
My understanding is that there are four Tiffany books planned, and he's doing them primarily to look at Discworld witchery from another perspective. And as a lark to his girl scout troop, where he's an honorary member.
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  #20  
Old 08-31-2005, 04:35 PM
Anaamika Anaamika is offline
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Originally Posted by Clothahump
Umm.....I'd be careful about complaining if I were you. One of them will come and look at you.


Vimes'd kick their collective asses. While smoking his cigar.
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  #21  
Old 08-31-2005, 05:04 PM
Charlie Tan Charlie Tan is offline
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SDMB Deathmatch:

Vimes vs. Granny Weatherwax
Granny - no matter how much Vimes prepares.

Granny vs. Batman
Granny - no matter how much Batman prepares.

Now, an interesting deathmatch would be:

Havelock Vetenari vs. Esmeralda Weatherwax
I think the Disc would break in two halves.
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  #22  
Old 08-31-2005, 05:33 PM
marque elf marque elf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Gaspode
SDMB Deathmatch:

Vimes vs. Granny Weatherwax
Granny - no matter how much Vimes prepares.

Granny vs. Batman
Granny - no matter how much Batman prepares.

Now, an interesting deathmatch would be:

Havelock Vetenari vs. Esmeralda Weatherwax
I think the Disc would break in two halves.
I suppose this is technically a highjack, but I Think Vetinari is a brilliant creation. i loved it when he left his office and got out in the field in Jingo. I'd really like to see a book narrated by Vetinari, though it's possible that he'd lose the aura of inevitability if he were the focal character.
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  #23  
Old 08-31-2005, 05:59 PM
Ponder Stibbons Ponder Stibbons is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaamika
So they say. *grumble grumble*


I can see being annoyed with Nanny, because she'll want to help you no matter what.

Granny, on the other hand ... if you were to tell her "back off, I know what I'm doing":

1. If she knew you really did know what you're doing, she'd say, "Well alright, then" and be on her way without a second thought.
2. If she knew you were full of it and were likely to kill yourself doing something stupid, she'd say, "Well alright, then" and be on her way without a second thought.

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  #24  
Old 08-31-2005, 06:36 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Gaspode
SDMB Deathmatch:

Havelock Vetenari vs. Esmeralda Weatherwax
I think the Disc would break in two halves.
The problem here is that both contestants would see that it was a DeathMatch, and promptly look around to see who was setting the whole thing up and what they were after. Then they would combine forces, without it looking like either one needed the help, mind you, and some imperious donkey would be prodded.
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  #25  
Old 08-31-2005, 06:38 PM
Anaamika Anaamika is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marque elf
I suppose this is technically a highjack, but I Think Vetinari is a brilliant creation. i loved it when he left his office and got out in the field in Jingo. I'd really like to see a book narrated by Vetinari, though it's possible that he'd lose the aura of inevitability if he were the focal character.
And I loved his history in Nightwatch.
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  #26  
Old 08-31-2005, 08:53 PM
DrFidelius DrFidelius is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marque elf
I suppose this is technically a highjack, but I Think Vetinari is a brilliant creation. i loved it when he left his office and got out in the field in Jingo. I'd really like to see a book narrated by Vetinari, though it's possible that he'd lose the aura of inevitability if he were the focal character.
His juggling scene is one of my top five bits in Discworld.

(O.T. Hijack -- your Username-- is it a Cordwainer Smith reference?)
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  #27  
Old 09-01-2005, 03:14 AM
rjung rjung is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silenus
The problem here is that both contestants would see that it was a DeathMatch, and promptly look around to see who was setting the whole thing up and what they were after. Then they would combine forces, without it looking like either one needed the help, mind you, and some imperious donkey would be prodded.
What silenus said, though I suspect Vetinari would have seen the manipulation coming a mile away and quietly taken steps to fake being forced into the deathmatch just for the purpose of unveiling the interloper involved.

And as Sam Vimes would tell us, the proper term is almost "prod buttock."
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  #28  
Old 09-01-2005, 12:14 PM
marque elf marque elf is offline
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Dr. Fidelius, you get a cookie. It is a Cordwainer Smith reference. I wasn't trying to be obscure, I just wanted to pay homage to a writer I enjoy who has been, IMHO, unjustly neglected. You and I may be the only people left in America who've read Mark Elf.

Is your user name an homage to Jack Vance?
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  #29  
Old 09-01-2005, 09:17 PM
DrFidelius DrFidelius is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marque elf
Dr. Fidelius, you get a cookie. It is a Cordwainer Smith reference. I wasn't trying to be obscure, I just wanted to pay homage to a writer I enjoy who has been, IMHO, unjustly neglected. You and I may be the only people left in America who've read Mark Elf.

Is your user name an homage to Jack Vance?
Right in one. No one else here seems to have read the Lyonesse Trilogy, and I stopped trying to explain it about six years ago.

"Dr. Fidelius, Charlatan"
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  #30  
Old 09-01-2005, 11:21 PM
jayjay jayjay is online now
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Originally Posted by DrFidelius
Right in one. No one else here seems to have read the Lyonesse Trilogy, and I stopped trying to explain it about six years ago.

"Dr. Fidelius, Charlatan"
I read that. But it was a long time ago and there were so freakin' many characters, not all of whom remained the same character from one end to the other, that I can't even remember the main character changeling's name.
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  #31  
Old 09-01-2005, 11:39 PM
lee lee is offline
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I like them granting him three gifts, and the gifts they chose. Death with stage fright was a nice touch.
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  #32  
Old 09-02-2005, 02:07 AM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Gaspode
Havelock Vetenari vs. Esmeralda Weatherwax
If I was going to make a Discworld movie, I wouldn't use an existing book to adapt, but create a whole new story, so I could weave in as many of the popular characters, in some small or large way, as I could. And one of the things that I would do is have Granny come up against Vetinari.
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