SPOILERS Esmeralda Weatherwax Character Discussion

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Tonyblack

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#1
I'm late posting this (again), super busy week last week!

I'm in two minds about posting all the popular characters too soon, but as these are open discussions that people can access at any time, I guess it'll work out in the long run.

Having said that, this time we are going to discuss Granny Weatherwax - possibly one of the most beloved Discworld characters.

We first meet her in the third book, Equal Rites and she proves herself to be a very powerful witch in that. There are some similarities with the Granny we come to know, but she was more of a rough sketch in that book.

So tell us what you all think of Granny Weatherwax?
 

RathDarkblade

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#2
That's weird, I was sure we discussed Granny already! Oh well ...

I like Granny's practicality and the fact that she subverts the old tropes about magic (e.g. using magic to help people or yourself). Granted, these tropes are subverted throughout the books and by most magic-users (wizards included), but Granny does it in a no-nonsense way that seems to say, you can either understand or you can fall behind, it's your choice. No wonder she tells Perdita (in Maskerade) that she, Granny, ain't no good at teachin': she probably could be very good, but she doesn't have the patience to teach, possibly because the modern teaching methods say that you have to wait for all the students to understand before moving on. Trouble is the kids know that, too, and some of them take advantage by acting out and making trouble for the teacher. Granny has no truck with any of that: if you don't want to learn, she doesn't want to teach. (Granted, she doesn't want to teach anyway.) ;)

I also like Granny's pragmatism, frugality, and the sense of making do with what you have. Not for her are the fancy tools of the trade (or "toys", as she would describe them, probably with a disdainful sniff). She sees no reason to move with the times or adapt (although, granted, she's an elderly lady, so I reckon she's earned the right).

Finally, I like the fact that she thinks about what she's going to do or say before she does or says it. I wish more people would do that - it'd save a lot of trouble.

As for Granny's less admirable qualities: she's very secretive about her plans. She tells people it's for their own good that she doesn't tell them her plans, but I reckon she just wants all the big scenes for herself. When she defeats an enemy, she becomes very smug - some would say, insufferably so - although no one would say it to her face (at least, not more than once). We see this in LL and CJ, but not in WA (which is understandable - she is distracted by family matters) or in WS (which, again, is understandable - it's an early book, and the ending should really be Magrat's).

Granny doesn't really have many (or even any?) enemies to face after CJ, which is odd. She hardly appears in ToT (the only witch there is Nanny IIRC), and when she appears in the Tiffany books, she's more in an advisory role. Again, this is understandable - it's Tiffany's time to shine - but part of me wishes we could see Granny take a more active role, like the old days.

Anyway, that's what I think of Granny. :)
 
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Tonyblack

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#5
It's funny to me how much Granny has stayed the same sine ER. And in many ways she is so, so different. In ER we had that very powerful witch who didn't care much for her fellow humans, but sometimes felt the need to interfere. I think Terry meant to use her in ER to show the difference between Witch Magic and Wizard Magic and to juxtapose Esk somewhere between the two. Wizard magic is forceful - it makes nature change to suit it. Witch magic is more gentle and encourages nature to suit it. This is seen in the difference between Granny and Esk when it came to Borrowing.

Then we get Nanny and Magrat added to the mix and Terry writes about three possible sides to witchcraft. Granny is still her crotchety self - a super powerful witch who needs (even if she would never acknowledge it) other witches to keep an eye on her.

I'll add more to this later as I don't want it to turn into an essay.
 

RathDarkblade

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#8
Thanks, Penners! :) Yes, I've read that essay before and remembered the title, though I didn't remember the essay in detail. It's good to see it again - obviously Terry had Equal Rites on the mind while writing that essay...
 

Ook ?

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#9
It's hard indeed to pick an absolute favourite among the many diverse DW characters but personally Granny Weatherwax is mine, her no nonsense attitude and fearsome personality are wonderful.
Just look at her the scene in ER when she's trapped in a bear pit with a bear, the bear very quickly hides away in corner in its happy place !!

Absolutely brilliant !!!
 

Tonyblack

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#10
It's hard indeed to pick an absolute favourite among the many diverse DW characters but personally Granny Weatherwax is mine, her no nonsense attitude and fearsome personality are wonderful.
Just look at her the scene in ER when she's trapped in a bear pit with a bear, the bear very quickly hides away in corner in its happy place !!

Absolutely brilliant !!!
Agreed! She reminds me of me with her attitude :laugh: Her interactions with Tiffany in those books are very special. There seems to be a bond between the two characters that acknowledges that they both realise how much power they have.
 
Oct 1, 2009
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#11
Agreed! She reminds me of me with her attitude :laugh: Her interactions with Tiffany in those books are very special. There seems to be a bond between the two characters that acknowledges that they both realise how much power they have.
[Spoilers ahead]

One of the best little scenes between Tiffany and Granny happens when they meet for the first time near the end of Wee Free Men. Granny asks/demands that Tiffany tell her how she defeated the Elf Queen, and Tiffany immediately answers, "I don't ask you your business." Nanny expects some kind of major fracas, but Granny bows and acknowledges that she didn't have the right to demand the answer (although she subtly suggests that it would be in Tiffany's best interests to tell her on her own volition someday).

That bit really sets in mention what ends up being a mentor-apprentice relationship. Granny absolutely knows how much power she has and how to use it and her place as the strongest protector of the "edges." In the early books at least, Tiffany often doesn't know how much power she has until a point in the story where she instinctively figures out what to do to defeat the evil thingamabob. Over time, Granny knows that Tiffany will someday take her place as the DW's most powerful witch (Tiffany is able to do things that Granny never did) , and part of Tiffany's psyche is knowing that she must solve her problems on her own--that if she asks for actual problem-solving help from Granny (or anyone else) she might as well give up being a witch.

Tiffany is destined to be become a Granny-style witch. Despite the little bits of potential romance in the books, she is, in the end, a loner, separate from society, probably destined never to marry or become a Nanny Ogg-style matriarch.
 

RathDarkblade

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#12
I am not so sure that she's a loner, though. She and Geoffrey seem to have - well, an understanding. She also cooperates well with other witches, and doesn't snap at people like Granny does when she's in a bad temper.

I also don't believe in destiny, so I don't think anyone is destined to become anything. (Unless the author wants them to, of course). ;)
 
Oct 1, 2009
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#13
Tiffany also had an "understanding" with Preston, and that went nowhere. Granny gets along with other witches, too, but she's not woven into the social fabric of Lancre the way Nanny and Margrat are. Tiffany may still live at home, but even there she's still not integrated into her family life, and most of the people of the Chalk view her as "the witch." She's an outsider, like Granny. Whoever wrote the last sections of The Shepherd's Crown (and I still don't believe it was Pterry himself) tried to turn her into a "bring everyone together" type of person but the evidence from the previous books pointed to her not going in that direction.
 

=Tamar

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May 20, 2012
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#14
There was a definite hint though, and at sixteen, Tiffany has a lot of potential futures.

"Then the time for talking was over, and it was just Tiffany and Preston, together, snatching the moment and saying more with their eyes than any words could convey.
And it was magic; a different kind of magic."
 

Mixa

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#15
It's hard indeed to pick an absolute favourite among the many diverse DW characters but personally Granny Weatherwax is mine, her no nonsense attitude and fearsome personality are wonderful.
Just look at her the scene in ER when she's trapped in a bear pit with a bear, the bear very quickly hides away in corner in its happy place !!

Absolutely brilliant !!!
Yesss, you are right! :roflmao: And she is the most stubborn character I've every met!
“Granny Weatherwax was not lost. She wasn't the kind of person who ever became lost. It was just that, at the moment, while she knew exactly where SHE was, she didn't know the position of anywhere else.”
I recently read "Equal Rites" (for the third time) and I love the way Pratchett introduced Granny Weatherwax. She is also my favourite character (although I love sooooo many of them!!!)

Mx
 

Tonyblack

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#16
I always used to use the "I'm not lost" line when I was leading a walk.
 
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#17
Spoiler ahead!
I really like her. She is a quite similar character like Prof. McGonnagall from HP. Unsentimental, a bit grumpy but there is a big heart under the slim chest. Could even imagine, if there was a movie about the witches, Maggie Smith could play Granny.
I think, You the white cat got borrowed by Granny. Would be nice, innit?
 

=Tamar

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#18
I read somewhere that Rob Wilkins said yes, that in notes that were not able to be included, it was clear that Granny did Borrow the cat You.
 

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