SPOILERS Queen Magrat of Lancre (nee Garlick) Character Discussion

Welcome to the Sir Terry Pratchett Forums
Register here for the Sir Terry Pratchett forum and message boards.
Sign up

Tonyblack

Super Moderator
City Watch
Jul 25, 2008
28,819
156
3,325
Cardiff, Wales
#1
This time we will discuss Magrat Garlick, the "wet hen" witch who went on to be queen of Lancre.

What do you think of Magrat? Her Magic? Her becoming queen? These are just a few of the questions I hope we get to discuss.

I always liked Magrat and, for a "wet hen" I thought she could be incredibly brave . . . and I don't just mean her kick-ass Queen Ynci role.
 

=Tamar

Sergeant
May 20, 2012
3,830
109
2,150
#2
The first three Witch books with all three of them are essentially a trilogy with Magrat as the heroine. WS, WA, LAL.

Maskerade begins Agnes's story. The short story The Sea and Little Fishes continues it. CJ establishes her as a full member of the coven, and confirms Magrat as not only a Witch Queen but also a Mother, clearing the way for Agnes to be the new Maiden.

CJ and TSALF seem to have been written at about the same time. TSALF appeared in a sampler first, then in Legends, October 5, 1998. CJ was released November 5, 1998.
 

RathDarkblade

Moderator
City Watch
Mar 24, 2015
5,148
173
2,450
43
Melbourne, Victoria
#3
I like Magrat. She certainly has more than enough courage to stand up to Granny on several occasions (as happens in WA). She also stands up to the guards in WS, and weaves enough magic (I mean, headology ;)) to open the dungeon door.

Oddly, Magrat more or less disappears after CJ. Does she appear anywhere after that? I can't recall. Nanny and Granny certainly appear in the Tiffany books, but not Magrat (or Agnes, come to think of it).

Here's another question: if Magrat is now the Mother, what does that make Nanny in the three-witch hierarchy? She herself doesn't want to be a Crone, and she's too old to be a Maiden.
 

Dotsie

Sergeant-at-Arms
Jul 28, 2008
8,886
89
2,850
#6
what does that make Nanny in the three-witch hierarchy? She herself doesn't want to be a Crone, and she's too old to be a Maiden.
Nanny is definitely over-qualified for maiden status. Age doesn't come into it.
 

Dotsie

Sergeant-at-Arms
Jul 28, 2008
8,886
89
2,850
#7
What!!!! Granny a virgin that stretches things a bit.
Not really. She was quite judgemental about Nanny's behaviour before marriage, and she's never been wed. She always ran too fast.

I was because she was a virgin that she was able to lead the unicorn.
 
Last edited:

Dotsie

Sergeant-at-Arms
Jul 28, 2008
8,886
89
2,850
#8
I like Magrat. She's very strong, and has a scientific mind (for a witch).
 
Oct 1, 2009
4,083
32
2,150
Boston, MA USA
#9
I was never a huge fan of Magrat in the first two books. She did seem like the "wet hen" personality, and Pterry's physical description of her was very unkind. At least Agnes had wonderful hair.

To me, Magrat was most appealing in CJ. Something about having a child suddenly instilled in her a sense of iron-clad resolve and wisdom she often lacked until absolutely needed in the earlier books.

Magrat had a tiny cameo in I Shall Wear Midnight (not sure whether he had a line or not) and I believe a little larger (and speaking) role in The Shepherd's Crown.
 
Jul 27, 2008
16,520
142
3,075
Stirlingshire, Scotland
#10
Not really. She was quite judgemental about Nanny's behaviour before marriage, and she's never been wed. She always ran too fast.

I was because she was a virgin that she was able to lead the unicorn.
Not really. She was quite judgemental about Nanny's behaviour before marriage, and she's never been wed. She always ran too fast.

I was because she was a virgin that she was able to lead the unicorn.
I got that a bit mixed up Dotsie I somehow transposed Granny with Nanny as that who I was refering to.:oops:
 

Molokov

Lance-Corporal
Sep 29, 2011
351
10
2,325
Adelaide, South Australia
ausdwcon.org
#11
Magrat does make a small appearance in The Shepherd's Crown (this isn't much of a spoiler!) but yes, as you say, after Carpe Jugulum she spends most of her time being a Queen and a mother without worrying too much about being a witch.
 

Tonyblack

Super Moderator
City Watch
Jul 25, 2008
28,819
156
3,325
Cardiff, Wales
#12
I did think that Nanny and Granny thought that Magrat was stepping down in status by giving up witchcraft to be a mere queen. In a similar way that thought Agnes was throwing away her chance to be a witch by being a mere opera singing diva.
 

Tonyblack

Super Moderator
City Watch
Jul 25, 2008
28,819
156
3,325
Cardiff, Wales
#13
I was never a huge fan of Magrat in the first two books. She did seem like the "wet hen" personality, and Pterry's physical description of her was very unkind. At least Agnes had wonderful hair.

To me, Magrat was most appealing in CJ. Something about having a child suddenly instilled in her a sense of iron-clad resolve and wisdom she often lacked until absolutely needed in the earlier books.

Magrat had a tiny cameo in I Shall Wear Midnight (not sure whether he had a line or not) and I believe a little larger (and speaking) role in The Shepherd's Crown.
Magrat and Verence turn up at Roland's wedding in ISWM. And I think Magrat becomes a much more rounded character as queen and mother than as the, almost stereotypical, New Age witch she was in the earlier books.
 

RathDarkblade

Moderator
City Watch
Mar 24, 2015
5,148
173
2,450
43
Melbourne, Victoria
#14
I was never a huge fan of Magrat in the first two books. She did seem like the "wet hen" personality, and Pterry's physical description of her was very unkind. At least Agnes had wonderful hair.

To me, Magrat was most appealing in CJ. Something about having a child suddenly instilled in her a sense of iron-clad resolve and wisdom she often lacked until absolutely needed in the earlier books.

Magrat had a tiny cameo in I Shall Wear Midnight (not sure whether he had a line or not) and I believe a little larger (and speaking) role in The Shepherd's Crown.
I think Pterry's description of Magrat in the first two books is so unkind because he thought that, in comparison to the traditional depiction of the witch (i.e. wise-woman and healer), the "New Age witch"-slash-Wicca movement was just a lot of poncing about. *shrug* Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong! :)
 

Dotsie

Sergeant-at-Arms
Jul 28, 2008
8,886
89
2,850
#15
I'm going to criticise Terry a bit here, feel free to disagree :) but I think he's often unkind in his physical descriptions of women, who are often too fat or too thin. He's more likely to criticise the personality of men than their appearance.
 

Tonyblack

Super Moderator
City Watch
Jul 25, 2008
28,819
156
3,325
Cardiff, Wales
#16
I'm going to criticise Terry a bit here, feel free to disagree :) but I think he's often unkind in his physical descriptions of women, who are often too fat or too thin. He's more likely to criticise the personality of men than their appearance.
I absolutely agree with you. It's actually sort of rare that he gives much of a physical description, except when it's fat or thin people - especially women.
 

=Tamar

Sergeant
May 20, 2012
3,830
109
2,150
#17
I don't recall Sir Terry's describing any character as specifically "too" fat or thin, just that they are fat or thin. Even Crispin Horsefry, who was not so much running as galloping to fat, is more disparagingly described in terms of his behavior. People react to his whining, his foolishness, and his sloppiness. All Jolson is probably at least as big, but is not described as sloppy. I think I recall Sergeant Colon's being described as sloppy as well as somewhat foolish, but he isn't a whiner.
 

RathDarkblade

Moderator
City Watch
Mar 24, 2015
5,148
173
2,450
43
Melbourne, Victoria
#18
True. Agnes Nitt is also described as fat, but her fatness isn't what defines her character - rather the fact that she's in two minds about everything. ;)

Also, Glenda Sugarbean (who more or less runs the Night Kitchen in UU) isn't defined by her weight but by her motherliness, her striving to always be in control, and her caring side - she cares for the elderly neighbours as well as for Juliet and Mr Nutt.

And, of course, Sybil Ramkin also fits the "fine figure of a woman" euphemism but isn't defined by her body type either.

In years gone by, such women would have been relegated to the role of comic relief. But in Terry's books, they develop a range of interests and feelings, which makes them more human. :)
 

Dotsie

Sergeant-at-Arms
Jul 28, 2008
8,886
89
2,850
#19
My point is not that Terry describes women as being ‘too’ fat, but there are a number of fat characters and he is quite unkind about them. Even Lady Sybil, when we first meet her. Poor Agnes gets harsh treatment, as does Pucci Lavish - her high opinion of her own looks is interpreted as a lack of self-awareness. And other characters, whose opinion we are supposed to trust, are also unkind about these people.
 
Oct 1, 2009
4,083
32
2,150
Boston, MA USA
#20
I agree with Dotsie. Pterry's jokes about Agnes's weight--and there were many--were quite cruel. And at least in the early Watch books Sybil's "largeness" was a source of many jokes--most cruelly went Vimes nearly suffered a hernia trying to carry her. More than once Pterry's refers to Magrat's flat chest--as if this really matters.

On the other hand, he often falls victim to characterizing beautiful women as brain-dead dimwits, like Tawny in Thud and Juliet in UA.

He can be cruel with his description of male characters, i.e., Nobby and Fred. But it often seems that he pays little attention of the physical characteristics of male protagonists (do you really get a sense of what Vimes or Moist of Wm. De Word really looked like), whereas he often gives quite defined (and not always complimentary) descriptions of physical characteristics of female characters. Agnes is very fat but has beautiful hair. Granny has very sharp looks with stiff hair, although she is occasionally described as "handsome." Tiffany always laments her plain looks and brown hair. And the supporting female characters in male-protagonist books are often more physically defined than the men. Sacarica Cripslock (sp.) is described as someone who would have been beautiful in ancient times, even though we never know what William looks like. Adorabelles sever yet sexy appearance is well described even though we never know what Moist looks like. Even though Pterry did create much stronger and capable female characters than most fantasy writers, he still didn't escape some of the sexist stereotypes of the fantasy genre.
 

Book of the Month

Good Omens

"Pratchett’s wackiness collaborates with Gaiman’s morbid humour; the result is a humanist delight to be savoured and read again and again."

User Menu

Newsletter